The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released a set of new educational materials focused on classroom deliberation at the secondary and undergraduate levels. This set of deliberative training materials builds on the work of the Bioethics Commission in its report Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science, and Technology.
The new materials include a “Guide to Classroom Deliberation for Students and Teachers,” a “Deliberative Scenario” and “Teacher Companion” on “The Use of Prescription Stimulants for Enhanced Academic Performance,” and a “Deliberative Scenario” and “Teacher Companion” on “Law Enforcement Access to a University’s Genetic Database.” The guide for students and teachers provides a three-phase approach for conducting a democratic deliberation in the classroom setting, and includes recommended readings to aid students in preparing for a deliberation. The scenarios outline two ethically challenging situations that students and teachers can use as the basis of a deliberation, and provide suggestions for supplemental reading. The companions provide teachers with specific instructions for facilitating each deliberation, provide suggestions for expanding or redirecting each deliberation in a variety of situations, and include additional readings that can be assigned to students based on their role in the deliberation.
This set of materials is designed to introduce students and teachers to the process of democratic deliberation, as well as to highlight the educational benefits that deliberation can have in broadening students’ ethics education. These deliberative scenarios, similar to the Bioethics Commission’s other topic-based educational modules, are based on contemporary ethical questions on topics that have been addressed by the Commission, and are designed to provide students and instructors with the means to enhance, encourage, and enrich interdisciplinary ethics education.