Activity: Learning about ethics in public health cooperatively
Teaching- Learning Approach:
Cooperative learning (jigsaw)
By the end of the activity, students should be able to:
- Understand the fundamental principles of bioethics and their application in the field of public health
- Develop critical thinking skills to examine the ethical implications of public health measures
- Analyse and evaluate ethical challenges and dilemmas arising from public health interventions
As regards transversal skills, students should be able to:
Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills:
- Express ideas clearly and fluently
- Use precise and descriptive/content-specific vocabulary to enhance the topic or message
- Share information in an organised and interesting way
- Share an analysis of the main message to interpret, synthesise and/or evaluate the meaning of the content in order to draw a logical conclusion about the topic
- Show empathy and use non-verbal communication and active listening
- Perform tasks efficiently and carefully
- Persevere in the face of difficulties
- Develop positive and emotionally safe interaction and develop and co-create teamwork
- Work cooperatively with others
- Create a non-discrimination atmosphere
- Facilitate conflict resolution, remain calm under pressure, and control one’s emotions in conflict situations
Learning to learn
- Handle learning challenges, and to persevere even when faced with challenging circumstances.
- Recognize learning possibilities and reflect on them as learning outcomes in relation to their own profession.
Brief description of the activity
This activity consists of analysing a public health intervention from an ethical point of view. An ethically polemic public health intervention will be presented to students, and they will be asked to decide whether they are in favour or against the intervention. They will then be split into groups of like-minded people (either in favour or against) so that they can share the arguments that support their positioning. In a second phase of the activity, they will be split into new groups, mixed, composed of people in favour and against the intervention. Each mixed group will start a debate using the arguments that they built during the previous phase of the activity (i.e. like-minded groups). Finally, they will come back to the initial like-minded groups and share what they learned during the debates. In the end, they will have to decide as a group whether they want to stick with their initial positioning or change it. A general debate will follow so that the whole group can learn from all the arguments and reflections that were raised during the activity.
Activity plan: step by step
Before the activity
Think about a public health intervention that is controversial in terms of ethics. Some examples are prohibiting people aged 75 years or older to obtain a driving license or forcing lockdown during COVID-19.
Things to take into account prior to the activity:
During the activity
Step 1. Present the polemic public health intervention. Raise a couple of arguments to make the ethical controversy evident. Then ask students whether they are in favour or against the intervention (10-15 minutes).
Step 2. Form groups of 3 to 4 like-minded students. They should share the arguments underpinning their positioning with each other (15-20 minutes)
Step 3. Split the groups into new groups composed of 2 people in favour of the intervention and 2 people against it. They should start a debate using the arguments that they built in the previous phase (20-30 minutes)
Step 4. Make students come back to their initial groups, share what they learned from the debates and decide, as a group, whether they would like to stick to their initial positioning or change it (15-20 minutes)
Step 5. Dissolve the groups and start an overall discussion about all the arguments and reflections that arose during the jigsaw (15-20 minutes)
After the activity
After the activity is complete, ask them to reflect individually on what they learned during the activity. Reflection should not only focus on the ethics of public health interventions but also on what they learned from the dynamic: whether listening to others aided in broadening their mindsets, whether they felt it was difficult to avoid conflicts within opposite-minded groups, etc. Finalise this phase by asking them to summarise in a sentence what they learnt during the activity. This part should take at least 30 minutes.
Transversal skills are difficult to evaluate, particularly among big groups of students. Therefore, in this section we propose a tool for students to self-assess the development of these skills. The tool is divided into three dimensions: suitability of the learning activity, level of achievement of learning outcomes, and transferability to professional settings. You can adapt the dimensions and/or indicators that you use according to your teaching-learning context and needs.
Evaluation tool to self-assess the development of skills during the activity
For each of the following statements, select the best answer on a scale from 1 to 4, where 1 means “Not at all” and 4 indicates “Yes, totally”. N/A means “not applicable”.
|DIMENSION 1. Suitability of the learning activity|
|I found this learning activity adequate in terms of time|
|I found this learning activity adequate in terms of resources (material resources, physical space, etc.)|
|I found this learning activity adequate in terms of content|
|I found this learning activity engaging|
|I found this learning activity challenging|
|I found this learning activity disruptive in comparison with other learning methodologies|
|I found this learning activity useful to learn [add the subject]|
|I found this learning activity useful to retain knowledge|
|This learning activity motivated me to deepen my knowledge of [add subject or hard skill]|
|This learning activity allowed me to feel emotions that would be rather difficult to experience with other learning methodologies|
|I would recommend this learning activity to others|
|DIMENSION 2. Level of achievement of learning outcomes|
|This learning activity helped me to improve…|
|…my ability to [add a row for each learning outcome of the activity that you performed, both related to hard and transversal skills]|
|DIMENSION 3. Transferability to professional settings|
|After this learning activity…|
|…I will be better able to apply what I learned to my reality (everyday life, classroom, professional life)|
|…I feel more capable to perform in a professional setting|
|…I feel I can make better choices regarding professional situations|
|…I feel more prepared and self-confident to address professional situations|
OPEN QUESTION – Use this space to explain whatever you think is remarkable from the learning activity, including strengths, weaknesses, improvements, potential uses, feelings or dilemmas you encountered during the activity.
Download evaluation tool in pdf here.