The Biology faculty of the Science and Technology Department of the Ateneo de Manila High School conducted the Bioethics trial classes. The Bioethics chapters that were used in the trial classes were selected according to their relevance and application to the current Biology curriculum. In most cases, entire sessions of the trial classes were devoted to the Bioethics chapter/module.
However, despite the openness and modern character of the Jesuit education some topics are considered controversial, like euthanasia and assisted reproductive technology, from the perspective of the Catholic Church. These topics are to be handled with care, and if possible, avoided in class. For these topics, Jesuits who are interested in Bioethics are willing to conduct talks to the Biology teachers on how these topics should be handled.
The Biology teachers find the Bioethics chapters very useful and helpful, even to the extent that the chapters are the main content of the lesson plan for the particular Biology session. Also, oftentimes, the flow of the class would follow the suggested material in the chapter.
Generally, entire sessions are devoted to the contents of the Bioethics chapter. Additional time for Bioethics are in the form of extended homework and research outside the regular class, film viewing in previous sessions, and outbound education or field visit, in particular, for the Ecotourism chapter. Also, in the case of the Ecotourism chapter, one of its suggested activities, specifically postcard making, was adopted and integrated into an interdisciplinary activity for the entire second year batch in connection with the outbound education to a rainforest in a nearby mountain area.
The teachers use video material (e.g. the movie Gattacca) as take-off point for bioethics issues. The students view the film then write a journal or reflection paper about the film viewed. Additionally, current events, like the uprooting and balling of old hardwood trees along a major thoroughfare near the Ateneo campus, provide good context and greater awareness of Bioethics concerns.
One of the class strategies used by the teachers is the combination lecture- question and answer discussion of the Bioethics chapter, using and following the flow of information and questions contained in the chapter. In most of these classes, the students were given the Bioethics chapter previously for their advanced reading.
In classes where so much interest in a topic (e.g. assisted reproductive technology chapter) has been generated, an impromptu, informal debate would ensue in class. In one instance, in the Advanced Biology class, with some members of the school’s debating club in the class, the students asked for a formal debate on the Bioethics topic (Genetic Engineering). After some preparations and further research on the topic, group reporting was done, followed by the formal debate.
In other classes, the students were given the Bioethics chapter in class to be worked on in dyads, or in groups of threes or fours as a form of cooperative learning. Then the students respond in written form to the questions in the chapter, individually or in groups. This strategy allows greater student participation and involvement in the discussions.
Except for some activities which entail extended time and greater effort on the students, the teachers generally implement the various class activities suggested in the Bioethics chapters.
As evaluation for most Bioethics sessions, the students are asked to submit written responses and reflection pieces on the Bioethics materials they took in class. The written responses, whether as homework (done at home) or seatwork (done in class), are graded for compliance with requirements (e.g. list of risks and benefits), and noted for the students’ stand on the various bioethics topics.
The views or position made by a student on a bioethics topic is not graded for the stance he takes, whether for or against. Rather, the position a student takes is graded on how well he justifies and explains his views on the matter, and on how well he integrates learned ethical