616Challenges for Bioethics from Asia
difficulty in relating themselves with the topic. Since the teacher himself was not an English teacher, he had used the text as the supplement material.
Finally, there were extensive trials at the University of Tsukuba. The sample chapters were used at the following classes; English classes of 3rd year undergraduate biology students, English classes of 2nd year undergraduate biology students Bioethics/ Bioethics and Genes class for mainly undergraduate biology students, Environmental Ethics class for graduate students majoring in environmental science. Comparisons of written reports and evaluation reports are underway, between chapters and past materials.
All chapters were tested at least once.
Some improvement points regarding the project material would be, first the way to approach schools, and second, is to consider the burden or the efforts needed by teachers who are involved. Due to the Japanese education system, the primary focus of the school may be to prepare students for the university entrance exam. Some teachers found it difficult to introduce a material not needed for exam preparation. Another point to raise would be the scope of the material. Another point to raise here is the way to follow up on the schools that cooperated in using the material.
After observing different classes, I personally felt the limit of the observers. Some questions need to be addressed such as; objectivity (how objective can the observer be if the lesson is taught by your own colleague), comparison limits (in cases where only one class observation could be achieved, how much comparison can be done with regards to the materials that the students are more familiar with), feedback (what is the adequate and practical context of a feedback), and the different stand point between different observers (when comparing feedback from different country or classes, is there a way to minimize the observer’s personality).
I would like to conclude that being unable to understand English doesn’t necessarily mean that they are unable to appreciate the topic or the content of the material. Though it is true that language is a tool to think, and in Japan, it is better to provide the students with Japanese materials. Also, from the management point of view, there should be a give and take relationship between the project and the cooperating teachers or schools.
Leavitt: Your presentation was excellent just as your previous ones. I am just troubled by one thing in your presentation, just as in some presentations in China. Why teach about organ transplantation and brain death to high school students? Obviously medical students and so on yes. Why not teach something happy and cheerful to high school students like dieting and sports so that they are less likely to have heart problems? Or teach them about traffic safety so that they would be less likely to be brain dead. Why not teach them more cheerful things?
Maekawa: I don’t know why we choose this. But in Japanese tradition there has been a trend or a kind of flow to have death education along with life education, these two are linked. And I understand your point that instead of focus on death, there should be more focus on life. My personal reaction is that maybe approaching students with optimistic or cheerful material is not so striking. That might be too mundane and boring. For example, people like to read murder.
Lee: In your class, I remember the participants they are all female, now, I think it is kind of unbalanced to throw out conclusions based on this.
Maekawa: As I said, as a study, it is an unbalanced representation. But there is a tendency that females want to participate in arts. The teacher from Kasumigaoka explained to me that more female students want to participate in art subjects.
Bagheri: Regarding Frank’s remark, I would like to say that we could learn through indirect education. For example, in the chapter on brain death, we learn that since Ali didn’t use his helmet, he became brain dead. When we talk about brain death and organ transplantation, we are talking about the circle of life and death. One death becomes a source of life to another. Two families were happy. For Ali there was a choice to give life to Malachi’s spouse.
Su: Thanks, I’d like to follow up on Frank’s question. I remember he asked similar questions to one of the Chinese teachers. I think teaching brain death and organ transplantation to high school students is fine. They are mature enough to talk about life and death. And also we think