Read this case below:
Course name: Introduction to Professional Practice
Session/Lesson topic: Ethics
Students: 125 first year, first-term, physiotherapy students
Class length: 2 hours
Classroom type: Traditional lecture hall
Purpose of lesson and desired outcome of learning: The educator would like students to be able to recognize and respond well when faced with everyday ethical tensions arising in clinical practice.
The lesson: The educator focuses on building knowledge and awareness of professional codes of ethics, professional liability/legal implications, and professional guidelines regarding conflicts of interest. She then shares cases of ethical tensions and conflicts of interest in class and asks them to apply the codes, laws, and rules governing practice to each case.
Assessment of learning: The educator creates a short-answer test, testing knowledge of what different codes of ethics say about principles, laws, and rules governing practice.
- How is this case misaligned?
- What teaching and assessment strategies show up in this case? From which paradigms do they derive?
- How might you redesign this case to be better aligned?
The educators’ stated purpose of this lesson was to prepare students to recognize and respond well to everyday ethical tensions in clinical practice. However, the focus of the lesson was on knowledge and application of codes of ethics and guidelines. The assessment fails to assess what students would do in the face of “everyday ethical tensions”. It seems that this educator wanted to help inculcate greater ethical sensitivity, but fell back on traditional ways of teaching and assessing. The consequences of this misalignment may be that students’ ethical sensitivity is not sharpened and instead, they either miss out on noticing ethical tensions or feel that their “toolkit” leaves them ill prepared to navigate them.