Darryl R.J. Macer, Yukiko Asada, Miho Tsuzuki, Shiro Akiyama, & Nobuko Y. Macer
published under Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki
305, JAPAN; (D.M., N.M; Eubios Ethics Institute, 31 Colwyn Street,
Christchurch 5, New Zealand).
Email < email@example.com >.
1. Preface 1
2. Bioethics in Education 2
3. International Bioethics Education Survey 3
3.1.Structure and Design 3
3.2.Response and sample characteristics 3
4. Teaching of bioethics 5
4.1.Knowledge about issues related to bioethics and teaching of these issues 5
4.2.Current teaching about social, ethical and/or environmental issues 7
4.3.Future hopes for education 24
5. Animal experiments 24
5.1.High level of use of animal experiments 25
5.2.Concerns about animal experiments 25
5.3.Awareness of animal welfare guidelines 28
5.4.General responses about animals 29
5.5.Public attitudes towards animals 29
6. Images of, and need for, bioethics 35
6.1. Images of bioethics 35
6.2.Reasons to have bioethics education 35
6.3.Agreement that science raises issues 36
7. Information & teaching resources 38
7.1.Current use and textbook analysis 38
7.2.Development of teaching materials 42
8. Conclusions 42
9. References 44
10. Open comments 46
What do you think bioethics is? 46
Ethical Concerns about Animal Experiments 65
Guidelines about Animal Experiments 82
Is bioethics needed in education? 88
Needs for bioethics teaching 114
Appendix 1: Questionnaire 119
Appendix 2: Questionnaire in Japanese 126
Open comments in Japanese 133 (not on-line)
Japanese summary of this report 180
Book ordering information 193
"Bioethics" means the study of ethical issues arising from human involvement with life, and could be called simply the "love of life". Love is a broad term, but includes the concepts of balancing benefits and risks. Love is the desire to do good and the need to avoid doing harm. It includes love of others as oneself, the respecting of autonomy. It also includes the idea of justice, loving others and sharing what we have - distributive justice. It includes technology assessment in the biological sciences, and issues that are new and old.
There are two ways to think of the term bioethics, one is as descriptive bioethics - the way people view life and their moral interactions and responsibilities with living organisms in life. The other is prescriptive bioethics - to tell others what is good or bad, what principles are most important; or to say something/someone has rights and therefore others have duties to them (Macer, 1995). Both these concepts have much older roots, which we can trace in religions and cultural patterns that may share some universal ideals (Macer, 1994a). This separation into two types is also not new, rather is based on the English meaning of the word "ethics". For example, the American Heritage Dictionary, gives: "1.a. A set of principles of right conduct. b. A theory or a system of moral values. 2. The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy."
Nobody can claim to have the ultimate definition of bioethics, yet the issues included are being faced by everyone and educators have begun to develop approaches for dealing with it in the classroom. An International Bioethics Education Survey was conducted in Australia (A), Japan (J), and New Zealand (NZ) in mid-1993. National random samples of high schools were selected, and mail response questionnaires were sent to a biology (b) and a social studies (s) teacher at each school through the principals. This book reports the full results of these surveys and the follow-up that has been initiated in the time between 1993 and 1996. The questionnaire is given in appendix 1.
Bioethics includes the balancing of values and facts, two aspects of human live that face each other at the end of often opposing walls of daily life. Initially, knowledge and teaching of 15 selected topics related to bioethics and biotechnology are compared, and the particular focus is on the teaching of social, ethical and environmental issues of in vitro fertilization, prenatal diagnosis, biotechnology, nuclear power, pesticides, and genetic engineering. The general trend was more coverage in biology classes, except for nuclear power, and more coverage in Australia than New Zealand, and significantly less in Japan.
Open questions looked at images of bioethics, and find the views of teachers varied with some differences apparent between practical concerns and vague ones, the former could represent progress towards bioethical maturity (Macer 1994b). Open comments also are given for the reasons why about 90% of teachers thought bioethics was needed in education. Open questions on teaching materials, current and desired are also discussed, which has subsequently led to the development of teaching materials available globally on Internet, and a bioethics education network in Japan. This book includes the complete comments of the open comments, in English (with Japanese comments translated), and with comments in Japanese in the Japanese extension to this book.
Attitudes to, and the practice of, animal experiments were surveyed finding more teachers expressed concerns about animal rights or experiments in New Zealand, then Australia, and least in Japan. Among the biology teachers, 90% in New Zealand use animals in class, 71% in Australia and 69% in Japan. About two thirds of all the samples said that they had had ethical concerns about animal experiments, which were examined in responses to open questions. The concept of humane use was expressed less in Japan than Australasia. 72% of biology teachers in NZ, 63% in Australia and 12% in Japan said there were guidelines at their schools for using animals in class. The impact of animal welfare guidelines on teachers attitudes is discussed, together with the general attitudes to animal use.
During 1993 we also conducted mail response surveys among the general public in these three countries as well as in Hong Kong, India, Israel, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore and Thailand, with collaborators (Macer, 1994a). That International Bioethics Survey was performed in order to look at how people think about life, nature, and selected issues of science and technology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and genetic technology. In all countries of the International Bioethics Survey there is 90+% support for "including discussion of social issues associated with science and technology in school, so that students can participate in contemporary debates". It therefore appears that there is very widespread support for inclusion of bioethics teaching in schools. As we found in this survey, teachers were even more supportive.
This book is arranged into a topical presentation of results, including tables, followed by a series of open comments for various questions. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of all the teachers who responded to the surveys, and various colleagues for assistance given to us. The surveys and development of teaching materials was supported by Grants in Aid for Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan (Grants #05680147, 60240686, 07690193); the University of Tsukuba; and the Eubios Ethics Institute. Inquiries on this continuing project are welcome, details are on the inside cover.
Science educators discovered during the last two decades that the most efficient way to educate science is to discuss the science together with examples of technology and put the facts into the social context. This method of teaching is generally called the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) approach (Ramsey, 1993). Advances in biology and medicine have led to another pressure upon educators, namely how can students be prepared to face the ethical dilemmas that the technology often raises. The ethical issues associated with biology are generally grouped under the phrase "bioethics". Bioethics is one part of the approach of STS, and a survey of bioethics teaching is also one method to measure the extent that society issues are included. In general there are less teachers using STS approaches in Japan than in the USA (Kumano, 1991), and Australasia. Even with one country, such as the USA, there are a diversity of views on how to effect efficient education of social issues and even the science itself (Waks & Barchi, 1992).
Bioethics has also emerged as a topic in social studies and moral education. In fact it is not limited to any subject, and in the results presented here we see it being considered in a range of classes across the school curriculum. We have also found teachers from all subjects have been interested in the teaching materials prepared. Another question is where should bioethics education be best taught - in biology or social studies or both classes, and/or other classes within the school curriculum? Therefore we included social studies teachers in this survey.
There had been wide media discussion of the issues, so in order to investigate the actual inclusion of bioethical issues in high school biology and social studies classes this International Bioethics Education Survey was conducted in 1993. A previous survey conducted in Japan in 1991 (Macer, 1992a; 1992b) indicated that there is a strong consensus for the inclusion of discussion of the ethical, social and environmental issues associated with genetic engineering in school and university curriculum. From comparison to a 1990 survey in New Zealand (Couchman & Fink-Jensen, 1990), there appeared to be significantly less discussion of the social, ethical and environmental issues associated with genetic engineering in Japanese high schools than there is in New Zealand.
The word bioethics is familiar to a significant proportion of people in these three countries chosen for the initial International Bioethics Education Survey, however many people may not know this term while they do recognize the ethical issues associated with biology and science in general. Therefore the questionnaire was designed to look at issues that may have been discussed for a number of years, as well as issues associated with newer topics such as human gene therapy. This book reports the conclusions of this research.
3.1. Structure and Design
In July-August 1993 the International Bioethics Education Survey was conducted in Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. The questionnaire used in Japan in 1991 (Macer, 1992a) was further developed in English and Japanese, and is included in appendix 1. The questionnaire consisted of 22 question sections containing about 110 individual questions, including 41 open-ended ones. In most questions teachers chose their answers from two to five options (e.g. Yes/No/Don't know; Agree strongly / Agree / Neither / Disagree / Disagree strongly), and were asked to write reasons for their answer. In some questions, for example on teaching materials and the images of bioethics, they were simply asked to write their comments. Open-ended questions should not lead respondents into set responses, and was added to look at people's reasoning. The ideas in each comment were assigned to different categories, which were compared.
Six questions were used from the general International Bioethics Survey (Macer, 1994a) in order to allow comparisons to public and student views, on the awareness of selected topics in science, and perceptions of benefits and risks of science and technology, acceptance of genetic engineering and genetic therapy. These are discussed in detail elsewhere (Macer, 1994a; Macer et al. 1995).
Questionnaires were printed on three double-sided A4 sheets, and two were sent with covering letters to both the principal and teacher to each high school principal, requesting the principal to give one to a biology teacher and the other one to a social studies teacher. Return stamped address envelopes were included, and they were posted inside each country. About one quarter of the high schools in Japan (N=1400) were chosen combining a random selection from the total high school list of the Ministry of Education (N=1172) and the schools that replied to the earlier randomized national survey of biology teachers in 1991 (N=228). The surveys were posted in early July 1993 in letters addressed to the personal names of the principals in Japan and the "The principal" in Australia and New Zealand.
All the 338 high schools in New Zealand were sent questionnaires in August 1993 using the Ministry of Education school list, and those schools with more than 1000 students were sent four questionnaires (a total of 375 possible teachers in each subject). In Australia, 500 schools were first selected from combining all the schools available to foreign students and random selections from telephone books, and were surveyed in August. A further 28 public schools were surveyed in November with the kind cooperation of the Australian Capital Territory Department of Education and Training, who sent an approval letter to accompany the questionnaires and a list of schools.
3.2. Response and sample characteristics
The response rate from Japanese biology teachers was 40% and that from social studies teachers was 27%. Reminders were sent to schools in Japan that had not replied after two months, which increased response by about 5%. 88 biology teachers replied from the old schools which had cooperated with the 1991 survey, and 472 were from new schools; Also 61 social studies teachers who replied were from the old schools, which in 1991 had only included biology teachers. The response from the new and old schools was not significantly different. In this paper the word "significant" implies a statistical significance of P<0.05.
The response rates from New Zealand and Australian biology teachers and social studies teachers were 55%, 48%, and 26%, 22%, respectively. In all countries biology teachers responded more. The inclusion of an approval letter from the Australian Capital Territory Department of Education and Training with the questionnaires to the 28 public schools surveyed in November did not significantly increase response rate.
The sample characteristics are shown in Table 1. General information gathered in the surveys included sex, age, marital status, children, education, importance of religion (religiosity), race, income and rural/urban locality. There were no significant differences in the age of respondent teachers between these three countries. However, there were significantly fewer women among the Japanese teachers than among New Zealand and Australian teachers, respecting the general teacher population. Significantly more teachers in New Zealand and Australia were postgraduates than Japanese teachers, and Japanese teachers placed less value on religious practice.
The schools were representative of schools in Japan and New Zealand, but in Australia there were more private schools represented in the sample, reflecting the selection of schools in our sampling, which included many schools open to international students. This could also have led to the somewhat higher religiosity among the Australian respondents than in the other two countries.
In New Zealand, 18% of responses were from Auckland, 9% from Wellington, 39% from the rest of the North Island, 10% from Christchurch, 2% from Dunedin, and 17% from the rest of the South Island, with 5% not stating their address. In Australia, 6% were from Australian Capital Territory, 23% from New South Wales, 3% from Northern Territory, 19% from Queensland, 9% from South Australia, 6% from Tasmania, 26% from Victoria, and 7% from Western Australia. In Japan the number of biology and social studies teacher respondents, respectively, from each prefecture were: Tokyo (21,15), Gifu (14,8), Shiga (6,4), Kyoto (11,6), Osaka (12,11), Aichi (29,16), Gumma (12,9), Chiba (15,9), Saitama (17,11), Tochigi (12,11), Fukushima (14,11), Miyagi (21,10), Iwate (7,7), Aomori (14,13), Hokkaido (21,23), Akita (9,8), Yamagata (11,9), Niigata (9,12), Nagano (12,11), Toyama (16,6), Ishikawa (10,5), Fukui (7,6), Hyogo (23,10), Tottori (4,3), Okayama (7,7), Shimane (2,2), Hiroshima (16,6), Yamaguchi (9,7), Ehime (7,6), Koichi (6,3), Kagawa (6,5), Tokushima (5,3), Fukuoka (10,6), Saga (7,6), Nagasaki (10,4), Oita (4,6), Kumamoto (10,4), Miyazaki (5,4), Kagoshima (12,9), Wakayama (8,1), Nara (7,6), Mie (14,13), Shizuoka (21,10), Yamanashi (8,5), Kanagawa (28,16), Okinawa (7,2), Ibaraki (9,10), unknown (14,7). These sample distributions are nationally representative.
|Number of respondents (N)||206||96||251||114||560||383|
|Response rate (%)||55||26||48||22||40||27|
The main subject the teachers taught (%)
|Social / Ethics||0||47||0||39||0.4||98|
|Many / Other||1.5||3||14||31||1||2|
|Average age (years)||40.8||42.5||41.8||42.0||40.7||40.0|
|% who have children||78||85||76||76||70||72|
|How important is religion? Very||20||17||42||47||7||10|
|Not too much||33||32||19||10||45||36|
|Not at all||30||22||16||17||23||17|
Abbreviations in all tables: NZ=New Zealand; A=Australia; J=Japan; b=biology
teacher; s=social teacher
Q6. Can you tell me how much you have heard
or read about each of these subjects?
Not heard of it
Heard of it (Know)
Could explain it to a friend (Explain)
Have you discussed it in class? (Teach
- Yes) [GE=genetic engineering]
|Human gene||Explain T||76||66||31||15||80||71||40||21||62||51||18||15|
|Fibre optics||Explain T||64||48||43||33||60||40||40||24||42||22||32||32|
|GE - plant||Explain T||93||88||56||36||91||85||56||42||74||69||18||22|
|GE - micro-||Explain T||90||81||30||12||86||76||39||18||72||66||10||9|
|GE - animal||Explain T||91||81||52||38||91||85||57||44||67||59||17||20|
As mentioned above, there were three questions to investigate the teaching of bioethics. Q6 investigated how much teachers thought they knew about each of fifteen subjects, and whether they taught them. In Q9, six of these fifteen issues of Q6 (in vitro fertilization, prenatal diagnosis, biotechnology, nuclear power, pesticide, and genetic engineering) were included, and the teaching of the associated social and ethical problems, and/or environmental problems, were examined with open questions. In Q10 teachers were asked the same questions as Q9 about their ideas on the future curriculum.
4.1. Knowledge about issues related to bioethics and teaching of these issues
Overall biology teachers had greater self-reported knowledge about the issues than social studies teachers in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan (Table 2). However, biology and social studies teachers had similar knowledge about the issues of nuclear power in the three countries, and about pesticides, in vitro fertilization, and AIDS in New Zealand and Australia. Also in New Zealand and Australia social studies teachers said they had more knowledge about computers than biology teachers did.
Trends in self-stated knowledge were reflected in the teaching, and biology teachers generally taught the issues more than social studies teachers in all countries. The subjects which social studies teachers had dealt with more was nuclear power and computers in all three countries, and fibre optics in Japan. Looking at the differences between countries, Japanese biology teachers had generally taught less about these issues than New Zealand and Australia ones, except the issues of biotechnology and eugenics. Australian social studies teachers were most positive about reporting teaching among the social studies teachers in the three countries, and Japanese social studies teachers were the least positive. Only in the teaching of biotechnology did Japanese social studies teachers appear to be positive more than social studies teachers in other two countries, which could reflect the generally higher awareness of the word "biotechnology" in Japan seen in past surveys (Macer 1992, 1994).
Table 3 presents the results of Q6 and Q7, illustrating the teacher's personal views over the benefits and risks of in vitro fertilization, computers, biotechnology, nuclear power, pesticides and genetic engineering. Social studies teachers more often stated they had "a lot" of concerns about genetic engineering than biology teachers. Between countries, Australian teachers expressed more concerns about IVF, computers, biotechnology and genetic engineering; New Zealand teachers expressed more concern about nuclear power; and Japanese expressed less concern about pesticides.
Q6. Do you personally believe XXX
is a worthwhile area for scientific research? Why?...
Q7. Do you have any worries about the impact of research or applications of XXX? How much? Why?...
|In vitro fertilisation|
|Q7 No worries||25||29||16||17||12||12|
|Q7 No worries||53||53||47||39||57||52|
|Q7 No worries||42||31||23||29||22||22|
|Q7 No worries||9||6||6||7||7||9|
|Q7 No worries||12||10||12||13||11||17|
|Q7 No worries||13||9||11||10||15||15|
Table 4: Comparative teaching of the ethical, social and environmental issues
Have = Q9. Have you ever discussed in class the social, ethical and/or environmental issues associated with applications of these scientific developments?
More = Q10. Do
you think that more room should be made in the curriculum for
discussion of these issues associated with applications of these
|IVF||social & ethical||77||55||38||45||87||50||55||60||57||62||31||71|
|Prenatal||social & ethical||67||56||29||50||74||50||29||53||40||55||19||61|
|Biotechnology||social & ethical||51||62||26||47||67||50||35||55||47||58||32||58|
|Nuclear power||social & ethical||60||54||68||66||61||47||63||55||25||40||37||48|
|Pesticides||social & ethical||59||53||32||41||43||41||39||52||18||28||17||29|
|Genetic||social & ethical||85||72||41||61||90||57||57||64||52||71||27||72|
The results of Q9 and Q10 are in Table 4. For three out of the six issues, biotechnology, pesticides, and genetic engineering, the social, ethical and environmental issues were discussed more by biology teachers than social studies teachers in all three countries. The issues of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and prenatal diagnosis were dealt with more by biology teachers in New Zealand and Australia, whereas they were equally discussed by biology and social studies teachers in Japan. More positive teaching from social studies teachers was seen around the issue of nuclear power in all countries; social studies teachers in Australia and Japan dealt with more than biology teachers as the social, ethical and environmental issues, and social studies teachers in New Zealand dealt with as environmental issues. The scientific subjects which had social, ethical and/or environmental issues most frequently discussed were nuclear power in all countries, pesticides in New Zealand and Japan, genetic engineering in New Zealand and Australia, and in vitro fertilization in Australia.
In the three countries both groups of teachers focused on social and ethical issues more than environmental issues for IVF, prenatal diagnosis, and genetic engineering, but environmental issues more for nuclear power and pesticides, which is logical. In Australia and Japan the social and ethical issues of biotechnology were dealt with more, however, in New Zealand, social and ethical, and environmental issues were taught to a similar degree.
Teachers in every country reported teaching these issues in classes which they were in charge, naturally. A breakdown of the classes and years which the teachers thought that these issues should be dealt with in is in Tables 5, 6, and 7. A significant proportion of teachers did not give the classes, as shown in Table 5, but there are significant trends in the responses of those who did, for both Q9 and Q10. Geography classes are included among the social classes in Japan, where teachers may not separate them, unlike in New Zealand and Australia. In Australia these issues were taught more in senior years in all classes, for example the last two years, grade 11 and 12, whereas in New Zealand teachers recommended throughout all five high school years, form 3 to form 7. In Japan most teachers only suggested the subjects in which they themselves dealt with, but did not specify in which years they taught (though they may have thought that we could guess the year in school for each subject from the set curriculum).
Table 6: Classes and years given to teach social, ethical and
environmental issues in Q9 and Q10 (%'s)
Results expressed as % of those who said Yes to Q9 or Q10. [S&E = social, ethical issues; and E = environmental issues;
Topics: IVF; PD = prenatal diagnosis; Biot=biotechnology; nuc = nuclear power; pest = pesticides; gen = genetic engineering; Years: New Zealand, form = F; Australia, grade = g; Japan, year = y].
Table 7: Number of teachers who suggested that social, ethical
and environmental issues in Q9 and Q10 be taught in each class
for which student years (N's)
Values given are numbers. [S.E. = social, ethical issues; and En = environmental issues; Topics: IVF; PD = prenatal diagnosis; Biot=biotechnology; nuc = nuclear power; pest = pesticides; gen = genetic engineering; Years given (ns = not stated; ot = other): New Zealand, forms = F; Australia, grades = g; Japan, year s= y].
Compared to the differences seen in current teaching of the six issues (Q9), we could say that there is almost no difference in teachers' attitudes towards future education of these issues among all three countries (Q10, Table 4). Many teachers felt more education was needed especially on the issues associated with genetic engineering, nuclear power, and pesticides in all countries, and about IVF in Australia and Japan. Overall, teachers thought they should focus more on the social and ethical issues of IVF, prenatal diagnosis, and genetic engineering, environmental issues of pesticides, and both sets of issues for biotechnology and nuclear power.
There is an interesting trend in which subjects these teachers wanted to teach such issues. In all countries geography and social studies teachers wished them to be taught not only in geography and social studies classes but also in science classes (Table 4, 6, 7). In New Zealand and Australia, biology teachers thought these topics should be taught in science classes, whereas Japanese biology teachers said both in science and social studies classes. In New Zealand, biology teachers especially wanted to teach the issues of genetic engineering, biotechnology, and prenatal diagnosis in science classes. Geography and social studies teachers thought that it is also appropriate to teach in science classes, but they still thought that the issues like nuclear power and pesticides should mainly be dealt with in geography and social studies classes. In Australia geography and social studies teachers especially wanted to teach the issues of IVF and pesticides in geography and social studies classes; with prenatal diagnosis, biotechnology , and genetic engineering mainly in science classes; and nuclear power in both classes. In Japan biology teachers wanted to teach the issues like IVF, biotechnology, pesticides, and genetic engineering in science classes; and prenatal diagnosis and nuclear power in both classes. On the other hand, Japanese social studies teachers especially thought issues such as IVF, prenatal diagnosis, nuclear power and pesticides should be taught in social studies classes; and biotechnology and genetic engineering in both classes.
Many Japanese teachers also mentioned health class and home economics classes as possible teaching sites to deal with these issues (Table 6, 7). In New Zealand and Australia no one said home economics classes, and very few suggested health classes, though these could be less common. In Japan health and home economics classes have the advantage that teachers can handle classes freely, being not related to university entrance examinations; and all students have to take these classes. However, some students or teachers might not pay much attention to these issues if in these classes because of the fact that health and home economics classes are not the subjects for university entrance examinations.
This makes us ask where the best place for bioethics is, and whether it can be examined or not. Some teachers said that we should teach these issues in many classes, instead of narrowing to a particular subject. In fact it may be best to have these issues incorporated at any appropriate place in the curriculum. Some also mentioned that this kind of education should be conducted at home, too. There were a wide variety of "other" comments that cited in response to Q9 and Q10. For Australian teachers these included: personal development, child development, physical and human development, human relationships, human behaviour, child care, humanities, modern conflict, Australian studies, general study, reproduction, biotechnology, psychology, sex education, HRE, reproduction unit, power, legal, economics, energy, and citizenship education. For New Zealand these included: economics, history, peace studies, legal, energy applications, life skills, general studies, moral, classical study, child care, extension classes, reproduction, civics, anthropology, environmental studies, sexuality course. In Japan there were less other comments given for the classes, with the following included: Religion, Catholic ethics, all subjects, morals, electricity, class discrimination (Dowa-Kyoiku), Nursing.
Who should decide the teaching of these issues? An additional question, Q10b, asked Japanese teachers at which level, national, prefecture, or school, it is most appropriate to regulate the curriculum for this kind of education. Most of teachers said the national level (Jb=40%, Js=42%), then the school level (Jb=16%, Js=11%), and the prefecture level (Jb=8.3%, Js=5.5%), with a significant proportion not expressing a view (Jb=41%, Js=37%).
The interactions between humans, animals and the environment have been increasingly considered in the last few decades, especially in scientific research and teaching. Animal rights is a recent extension of the animal welfare movement which began at least a century ago. It challenges human beings to reconsider interactions between humans and other animals, and may be connected to the environmental movement that begs us to recognize the fact that there are symbiotic relationships between human beings and all other lives. This movement is based on the concept that to cause pain and suffering is wrong (Singer, 1976; Regan, 1983). It has been very influential in the introduction of animal welfare legislation and guidelines which have made teachers and researchers more aware of the pain that they can cause to animals involved in experiments.
In the high school there have been moves to provide alternatives to animal experiments (Strauss & Kinzie, 1991), but the extent of change in attitudes is largely based on anecdotal evidence. There are still those who vigorously defend the use of animals for teaching biology (Morrison, 1993), and it is generally recognised that some experience with at least live animals is essential for biology education. This is an issue which most biology teachers should have faced given the high publicity of the animal rights movement, so we could expect them to have formed some values on the issues (Baier, 1993). We surveyed the opinions of high school biology and social studies teachers in Australia, New Zealand and Japan about bioethical issues in an International Bioethics Education Survey (Macer et al. 1994). The dilemma whether to kill experimental animals to acquire scientific knowledge in education offers a practical example of how to ethically and effectively use technology in biology and medicine.
5.1. Level of use of animal experiments
There is a high level of continued use of animals in class with 90% of biology teachers in New Zealand, 71% in Australia and 69% in Japan using animals in class (Q17, Table 8). The level of use is significantly higher in New Zealand high schools. The response to Q19 is interesting for comparison (Table 8), because while the responses to this question were significantly correlated to the actual use all samples, and in Japan and New Zealand, two thirds of those biology teachers who did not use animals in class said that they were needed. This could be a mark of frustration with current guidelines or availability of animals in schools.
Not many social teachers used animals in class, most of the positive respondents to Q17 were also teaching general science. More than half of the social studies teachers thought there was a need to conduct animal experiments to teach biology. However, most of the teachers also had some concerns (Q18, Table 8), and teachers in New Zealand who were the most positive to use animals and for a need also expressed the most concern about student abuse of animals and respect for life.
5.2. Concerns about animal experiments
The teachers were asked whether they or their students had ever had ethical concerns about animal experiments. About two thirds of all the six teacher samples said that they had had ethical concerns about animal experiments (Q18, Table 8). In all samples, more teachers who used animals in class said that they had ethical concerns and generally they noted more student concerns than teachers who did not use them. More New Zealand and Australian biology teachers said that their students had had ethical concerns than themselves. However, we must question the reliability of using surveys to teachers to report student concerns, as can be seen from the fact that in all samples we find significantly more of the teachers who had themselves had concerns (in the rows "Teacher's Yes", and "Teacher's No", Table 8). The open responses were examined and were placed into up to two categories, and comparisons made as shown in Table 8. The Japanese comments were translated into English, and categories checked to be consistent. A full list of comments is given in this book.
The detailed division of the comments into categories reveals whether the reasoning behind the responses, and the types of concern are similar or not. There are different levels of concern between Australia and New Zealand, and Japan, for example the "Humane use; No pain" idea was expressed by 26%, 16% and 1.6%, respectively, of biology teachers; and 11%, 11% and 0%, respectively, of social studies teachers in these three countries. The concept of pain appears to be more widely expressed in Australia and New Zealand, something also seen in the student responses. In Japan the concept of "respect" was more common than in Australasia. The concept to only use "dead animals only" was not common in Japan, though to use a "small number" was expressed more in Japan. These are both practical concerns.
We would suggest that the comments in the category "cruel to hurt them" have less concrete ethical foundation than the concept of pain, and it is interesting that more students than teachers expressed these type of concerns in all countries. The more extreme but also sometimes vague concept "animal rights" was quite common in students in Australia and New Zealand, but expressed less by students in Japan than by the teachers. Overall, this could suggest the students have ethical concerns that are expressed at a less practical level of understanding, also seen in the "small number" category of comments. There are some significant differences in the citing of practical concerns compared to vague and less practical concerns.
More teachers in New Zealand and Australia are seeking alternatives than teachers in Japan, seen in the comments only using "dead animals" (15.1% of biology teachers in Australia, 6.3% in NZ, 0.5% in Japan), "observing" live ones only (6.3% in Australia, 1.4% in NZ, 0.3% in Japan) and "returning to nature" after use (5.6% in Australia, 0.7% in NZ, 0% in Japan).
In all countries more biology teachers expressed the concern "no need for them" than social studies teachers, even though in Q17 less social studies teachers had expressed a need to use animals. We interpret comments "Cost/benefit analysis", "Feel guilty, but do experiment", "Need experiments" and the response to the question Q18, "No" concern as positive to conducting experiments. Teachers in Japan feel guilty or try to analyze cost and benefit, but still decide to do experiments. 11.5% of "Cost benefit" and 3.4% of "Feel guilty, but do experiments" are higher than 2.4% of "Cost benefit" and 0.8% of "Feel guilty, but do experiments" in NZ and 2.1% of "Cost benefit" and 0% of "Feel guilty, but do experiments" in Australia.
There were a few other interesting points, for example 1.8% of Japanese biology teachers, significantly more than other samples, made a comment about the proper "disposal of dead bodies". We also see this idea expressed in responses to Q19 in Table 9, under "after death treatment". Some schools have a shrine to remember the animals sacrificed in experiments, and most medical schools and animal research centres in Japan have a memorial stone and hold annual services of remembrance for experimental animals (also for those people who gave a family member's body to research).
In New Zealand, 19% of the teachers who had a concern said they were concerned about the abuse of animals by students. This compares to 5% in Australia and 1.6% in Japan. Does this mean that New Zealand high school students are more cruel to animals? Most likely it suggests that teacher's consciousness of what behaviour is cruel to animals differs among these countries, but it is an interesting point for future study.
|Q17. Use animals in class||90||8||71||19||69||33|
|Q19. Need to teach||93||72||67||52||85||73|
Q18a. (T) Have you ever had ethical concerns about using animals? No; Yes (what?...)
Q18b. (S) Have students ever said that they have ethical concerns about using animals?
|N - total||193||197||60||65||155||194||59||50||513||500||214||147|
|Have concerns (%)||65||73||63||65||63||80||71||64||75||67||72||45|
|Q18a Yes (%)||82||80||88||80||78||65|
|Q18a No (%)||60||42||67||35||33||10|
|N - total Yes||126||145||38||42||144||187||57||48||382||327||145||52|
|N - Yes with comments||122||134||29||31||136||165||41||36||297||248||86||26|
|N - of Don't know / No with comments||15||7||1||2||7||4||1||0||6||5||0||2|
|Comments cited by teachers and students who said Yes, they had ethical concerns (%)|
|No need for animals||15.1||11.1||7.9||7.1||20.1||16.0||8.7||4.2||9.2||2.1||8.3||1.9|
|Don't use them||4.8||0||0||0||2.1||0||3.5||4.2||0.5||0.6||0.7||0|
|Only use dead animals||7.1||1.4||5.3||2.4||6.3||1.1||0||0||0.5||0.6||0||0|
|Live (observe) only||6.3||0||0||0||1.4||0.5||0||0||0.3||0||0||0|
|Return to nature after||5.6||1.4||0||0||0.7||1.1||0||0||0||0.3||0||0|
|Invertebrates lower / Mammals special||3.2||3.4||2.6||2.4||2.1||1.6||0||0||3.9||2.8||0||0|
|Small number used||2.4||0||0||0||2.8||0||7.0||0||7.3||0.9||4.8||1.9|
|Humane use; No pain||15.9||14.5||10.5||2.4||25.7||13.4||10.5||4.2||1.6||0.9||0||1.9|
|Cosmetic testing bad||0||2.7||13.1||11.9||4.9||3.7||7.0||6.3||0||0||2.8||0|
|Cruel to hurt them||16.7||41.4||26.3||40.4||8.3||28.3||14.0||18.8||7.3||39.4||6.2||25.0|
|Debate in class; choice||0.8||2.1||0||4.7||2.1||2.7||0||4.2||1.8||1.8||0||0|
|Feel guilty, but do expt||0.8||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.4||0.9||6.2||1.9|
|Disposal of dead body||0||0||0||0||0||0.5||0||0||1.8||0.8||0||0|
|Students abuse animals||19.0||2.8||0||0||4.9||0||1.8||0||1.6||1.8||0||0|
Results for Q20: "At your school are there any guidelines about using animals in class?"
|Yes - Number||146||14||145||29||62||10|
|Yes with comments||136||12||125||18||50||5|
|Yes - Not stated (%)||7||14||16||38||18||50|
|No - Number||50||13||82||31||454||93|
|No with comments||11||3||16||7||1||1|
|No - Not Stated (%)||78||76||80||77||96||99|
|DK - Number||6||35||6||23||2||36|
Comments cited by teachers who said Yes, they were aware of guidelines (%)
|After death treatment||0||0||0||0||3.2||0|
|Dead animals only||4.8||7.1||11.0||13.8||1.6||0|
|Forbidden to kill||6.2||7.1||5.5||6.9||4.8||0|
|Don't use or need||0.7||0||2.1||0||1.6||0|
|No vertebrates to be used||13.7||0||0||0||3.2||0|
|Only for vertebrates||5.5||0||0||0||0||0|
|Small animals only||0||0||0.7||0||11.3||0|
|No written guidelines||0.7||0.7||2.1||3.4||1.6||0|
In all three countries there are government or ministerial guidelines on the treatment of animals in high schools. The results of Q20 reveal that knowledge of such guidelines, and also the presence of school guidelines varies significantly between Japan and Australasia, and between biology and social studies teachers (Table 3). About 90% of Japanese teachers said there were no guidelines for animal use at their school. The ideas expressed in the explanations of what guidelines there were were placed in up to two categories, as described above for Q18. A full list of comments is given.
The remarkable point is the apparent lack of knowledge of national guidelines, only 26% of biology teachers and 7% of social studies teachers in NZ, 27% of biology teachers and 7% of social studies teachers in Australia, and no biology teachers and 10% of social teachers in Japan, specifically said that they follow a national guideline or the law. The guidance of national committees may be included in the "Other guidelines" category, and it is possible some others mentioned specific details rather than where they came from. The types of ideas that the teachers thought were included were most commonly, "humane care or avoiding pain", with "respect" and "minimizing number" common in Japan. The content of the guidelines may influence the awareness of ethical issues, especially if laws were placed on use of vertebrates, or on killing animals.
We found that only 72% of biology teachers in NZ, 63% in Australia and 12% in Japan said there were guidelines about using animals in class. In New Zealand, all research and teaching using animals (mainly higher animals) must be covered by an approval from an institutional Animal Ethics Committee before the work commences; if the work commences without approval those involved can be prosecuted before the courts. Animal Ethics Committees include nominees from the NZ Veterinary Association and an animal welfare organization (e.g. RSPCA) as well as someone to represent the "public interest". Revisions to the Animal Welfare Bill are still being considered since a policy paper released in 1991 by the Ministry of Agriculture. There are also Royal Society of New Zealand guidelines for animal use, that several teachers mentioned.
In Australia there is the "Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Experimental Purposes", and the "Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes", issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council and other agencies in 1989. There are also state guidelines, and a South Australian respondent sent a copy of the state guidelines there.
In Japan there is a 1993 "Law on the Protection and Control of Animals", and government guidelines for teaching in Japan. It is possible it was too new for teachers to be aware of it, however, we think any differences may also lie in the discussion at school level and in the nature of the contents. While Australian and New Zealand guidelines mention establishment of a school committee, treatment by anaesthesia and recording the numbers, the Japanese ones do not mention these issues, and so there are not committees in schools. In universities there are committees established for all animal experiments, invertebrates and vertebrates. The government guidelines for teaching discuss the objective of experiments is to acquire scientific knowledge while understanding the importance of life at the same time, which have a more positive tone towards experiments than the Australasian ones.
Whether teachers follow guidelines or not depends on the contents of guidelines, and the enforcement of them. However, from the results of the survey we see people expressing concerns before the presence of guidelines is well known in Japan, however, the type of general ethical concern could be dependent upon the content of guidelines. Other major factors influencing ethical concerns that teachers have may be the extent of discussion of animal rights questions in teaching magazines, and the extent of animal rights discussion in the public, which is brought to school by the students. A UK student survey found that many students did differentiate between cosmetic testing and use of animals for medical research, however, still 48% disagreed with animal dissection for teaching (Stanisstreet & Williams, 1992).
5.4. General responses about animals
At the beginning of the questionnaire the open question, Q5. "What do you think bioethics is?" was asked (Section 6; Table 12). There were significant differences in the number of teachers who expressed concerns about animal rights or experiments, with the results being: NZb 17.6%, NZs 12.0%, Ab 8.0%; As 5.0%, Jb 1.1% and Js 0%. There were significant differences between countries, and these were also consistent with a general trend for New Zealand and Australian respondents to give more practical images than Japanese teachers.
At the end of the questionnaire, immediately following the animal experiment questions was another open question, Q21. "Do you think that bioethics education is needed in education?". In all countries over 85% agreed. There were also significant differences in the number of teachers who responded with a comment about animal experiments, with results being: NZb 8.4%, NZs 1.1%, Ab 5.2%; As 0%, Jb 2.6% and Js 0% (Table 13). The finding that Japanese teachers were less likely to express animal experiment issues, is consistent with the results of surveys among biology teachers in Japan in 1991 (Macer, 1992) compared to New Zealand in 1990 (Couchman & Fink-Jensen, 1990).
5.5. Public attitudes towards animals
Standards of animal care change over time as public acceptance of what is acceptable treatment of animals changes. During 1993 we also conducted mail response surveys among the general public in these three countries as well as in Hong Kong, India, Israel, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore and Thailand, with collaborators (Macer, 1994). This International Bioethics Survey was performed in order to look at how people think about life, nature, and selected issues of science and technology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and genetic technology. The question of animal experiments was not directly addressed in the International Bioethics Survey. One question asked the agreement with the statement "Animals have rights that people should not violate". The responses among public (p), medical students (m), biology teachers (b) and social studies teachers (s) were: NZp 72% agree/12% disagree; NZm 52% agree/16% disagree; NZb 69% agree/12% disagree; NZs 61% agree/13% disagree; Ap 69% agree/9% disagree; Am 62% agree/13% disagree; Ab 53% agree/20% disagree; As 63% agree/14% disagree; Jp 87% agree/3% disagree; Jm 77% agree/3% disagree; Jb 72% agree/6% disagree; Js 75% agree/4% disagree in Japan (Macer, 1994). We find the highest level of agreement with this statement in Japan; and the strongest agreement in all countries was seen among the public respondents. However, in responses to other open questions about bioethics among the public we did not find Japanese respondents expressed any more concerns about animal rights than in other countries, and in many questions they were among the lowest countries.
A deeper analysis of the attitudes to animals was made by analysis of the open comments expressed in questions, "Will you please express freely, in sentences and/or pictures, the images which come to mind when you hear the word "nature", and/or any ideas you have on "nature"; and the same for "life". All the comments with animals were examined, and the quantity of the comment, type of animal, and the type of relationship was examined (Table 10, 11). There are differences in the proportion of comments which mentioned animals (Table 10), and we should note that Russia and Israel and India had significantly more respondents to the survey who did not write any comment (generally 90% of respondents wrote something in response to these questions; but in those countries 75% or less wrote comments; Macer, 1994a).
The analysis did not find striking differences in the way the people in these three countries viewed animals. The analysis of such comments is also relevant to test the idea of how universal the images of animals and living organisms are. For example, in sociobiology the concept of "biophilia" (Wilson, 1984), suggests people have more specific reactions towards living organisms than inorganic ones, because it is linked to evolutionary benefits of ecosystem harmony. Whether or not we have special genetic relationships, there is a concern felt for animals and plants, beyond that felt for stones, and this is seen across the countries surveyed.
Results of a survey looking at the types of attitudes that people in Japan, Germany and the USA have towards animals suggests differences in the types of relationship (Kellert, 1991; 1993). His surveys were based over a ten year time period, and found that the most common feeling towards wildlife was appreciation, and affection for particular wildlife species. Interestingly, in our analysis (Table 10, 11), images of animals were more common in some countries than in others, and we could suggest that the higherproportion of comments about nature that referred to animals in Australia could be related to the famous variety of wildlife found there. Kellert suggested that preoccupation with a particular species is not the best approach for conservation. In Table 11 a listing of the types of animals that were mentioned in peoples images of nature and life is made, which does not suggest any particular species. However it was not a conservation question. Further analysis of these images will be made.
It is a future question to see whether such images may impact the way that animals are used in teaching, but it appears that the modern animal rights movement, and the introduction of animal welfare guidelines, have had more direct impact on changing the educational use of animals than the general perceptions of animals.
Table 10: Animals as images of nature and life. Analysis of the proportion of comments, and the quantity of each comment, which discussed animals in the images of life and nature from the International Bioethics Survey.
Table 11: People's relationships to animals. Analysis of the relationships towards animals, and the types of animals, in the comments from the images of life and nature from the International Bioethics Survey.
6.1. Images of, and need for, bioethics
At the start of the questionnaire teachers were asked what they thought bioethics is. The ideas were examined and categorized into up to two categories, as shown in Table 12. The Japanese comments were translated into English, and categories checked. The full list of comments is included, which illustrates the process of categorizing. We can see the similar attitudes towards images of bioethics in New Zealand and Australian teachers. They frequently mentioned "How we should use life", "Science/biology raises issues", "Decide before use", and "How to apply biotechnology". On the other hand, Japanese teachers more frequently mentioned "Respect for life", "Natural providence", "A very important subject", and "Human benefit/ right", especially social studies teachers. This suggests a more practical understanding of the issues in New Zealand and Australia, and that teachers are more at the first stage of recognition of bioethics in Japan, with more abstract images and less practical.
The comments including animal rights or experiments were also less in Japan, which may also reflect less concern about these issues. In Australia medical issues were more frequently mentioned, which could be due to inclusion of such curriculum cases as these or debate in Australia where bioethics education is quite developed.
After completing the questionnaire we found most teachers were very supportive of bioethics education (Q21, Table 13). Overall Australian teachers were most positive to bioethics education. In New Zealand and Australia the major reasons given why bioethics education is needed were "People faces issues in the world" and "Science raises issues". On the contrary, in Japan the major reason was "Respect for life", as it had been for Q5 (Table 13). However, significant numbers of Japanese teachers included ideas like "Debate is useful / it is dangerous not to have bioethics education". These comments are more concrete than shown in Q5, so their reasons for needs of bioethics education were more practical than their images of bioethics. It must be recognised that the sample of teachers selected by principals, and the respondents who spent the time to complete the questionnaire, could have led to bias in the response.
In the comments categorized under "Debate is useful / it is dangerous not to have bioethics education", a number of Japanese teachers wrote that mass media and civilized environment had led children to disrespect life in recent days. This kind of concern itself was not a specific feature of Japan, some teachers in New Zealand and Australia also expressed similar ideas, with more emphasis on the "Respect for life" theme. Japanese teachers may be more cautious about this trend among the young generation, and some had strong thoughts that it is dangerous not to have bioethics education. Bioethics education could influence the general climate of thought. The Australasian teachers appear to be already involved in this education, thus a trend for more concrete reasons as discussed above.
No teachers in New Zealand and Australia, and only a few teachers in Japan (Jb=1.3 %, Js=1.6 %) specifically mentioned medical issues as a reason for bioethics education, although 11-14% of Australian teachers had mentioned medical issues as a image of bioethics (Q5). The frequency of such medical comments may vary as a result of the questionnaire. It may have got teachers to think about bioethical issues in non-medical biology, science and technology, because the questionnaire dealt with bioethics broadly. This suggests that the questionnaire itself could influence teacher's attitudes and ideas.
In all countries, teachers more frequently included ideas like "People face issues in the world" and "Don't trust science" as reasons for teaching bioethics than they mentioned as images of bioethics. The "Don't trust science" comments included more extreme comments than the "Science/biology raises issues" or "People face issues in the world" categories.
Many teachers do feel there is a need for students to make bioethical decisions in their future life, and some mentioned the general public should participate in discussion of bioethical issues. They held a strong responsibility to educate youngsters. The "How to apply bio(technology)" comments are more specific than "Science/biology raises issues". One of the reasons why many teachers in every country gave strong comments in the last part of the questionnaire may be that they had thought of issues throughout the questionnaire and acquired a broader and/or clearer picture of bioethics and bioethics education. On the other hand, although the question on the images of bioethics appeared early in the questionnaire and many expressed ideas about technology, teachers' answers to later questions may have actually been influenced by the science and technology focus of the questionnaire.
|Q5: What do you think bioethics is?
|Respect for life||3.4||2.0||0.8||3.3||27.5||21.9|
|A very important subject||1.0||0||0||0||1.6||9.4|
|How we should use life||28.8||19.0||26.8||13.4||6.8||6.5|
|Science / biology raises issues||32.2||24.0||28.8||30.0||2.1||6.8|
|People face issues||0.5||0||0||0||1.3||1.3|
|Debate is useful||1.0||3.0||0.4||1.7||2.5||0|
|Decide before use||9.8||20.0||14.0||18.4||4.1||5.5|
|How to apply biology/ biotech||14.1||13.0||19.2||19.1||5.3||3.9|
|Don't trust science||0||0||0||0||0.2||0.3|
|Animal rights / experiments||17.6||12.0||8.0||5.0||1.1||0|
|Human benefit / rights||1.5||1.0||2.8||1.7||9.3||21.9|
|Q21: Do you think that bioethics is needed in education?
|Not really needed||0.5||3||1||1||1||0|
Why? Reasons given
|Respect for life||16.8||3.4||10.0||6.3||27.6||26.1|
|Science raises issues||26.8||26.1||25.7||28.6||6.8||11.2|
|People face issues in world||20.8||19.3||25.0||22.3||4.7||4.9|
|Don't trust science||2.5||2.3||4.3||6.3||0.4||1.2|
|Animal experiments issues||8.4||1.1||5.2||0||2.6||0|
|Debate is needed||0.5||1.1||4.4||0.9||10.2||10.1|
|Teachers may be biased||0||0||0.4||0||0.8||0.5|
In which subject?
The attitudes to teaching bioethics may be related to personal perceptions of science. Six questions were common to the International Bioethics Survey among public and students (Macer, 1994a). All samples in all countries valued the contribution of science and technology to life, with 99% of Australia and New Zealand biology teachers, and 95% of social teachers (the same as the public) agreeing that "Science makes an important contribution to the quality of life". Japanese teachers were significantly less enthusiastic, but still 83% of biology teachers agreed and 79% of social teachers. Teachers were generally more cautious than the public with the statement, "Most problems can be solved by applying more and better technology", with 46% of NZb, 32% NZs, 31% Ab, 24% As, 32% Jb, and 29% Js agreeing, and 28% NZb, 38% NZs, 39% Ab, 58% As, 18% Jb and 24% Js disagreeing.
Questions on the perceptions of benefit and risks of selected topics (Table 3), and open response questions showing the reasoning were more revealing, and the results of category analysis allow examination of the depth of thinking (Macer, 1994a). The most favourable responses were seen for computers and fibre optics. For biotechnology and genetic engineering the social studies teachers were significantly less positive in all countries, and for genetic engineering they had significantly more concerns than biology teachers. Pesticides were of intermediate support, with less support by biology teachers than biotechnology but more support from social studies teachers. Nuclear power was generally less supported, especially in New Zealand. The main reasons given for agreement for IVF were that it helps infertile couples, and about 15% said it raised ethical issues. In another question, 54% NZb, 46% NZs, 38% Ab, 42% As, 22% Jb and 18% of Js approved of surrogacy using IVF. For pesticides there were slightly more environmental concerns than health worries.
Less social studies teachers understood biotechnology and genetic engineering than biology teachers (Q6), and many social studies teachers in the all countries said that science classes were also appropriate to teach social, ethical and environmental issues (Q10). This lower understanding may explain why social studies teachers were significantly less positive towards biotechnology and genetic engineering. However, although Australians were more positive about biotechnology, they also had more worries, the same as the public (Macer, 1994). About a half did not say any benefit, and there was variety of benefits given, with general hopes for humanity being the major reason. Only about 2% of biology teachers and 7% of social studies teachers saw it as unnatural, the major worry was human misuse (about 20%) in Australia. Similar concerns were seen for genetic engineering although more teachers in all samples had greater degree of concern than for biotechnology, but people were more positive about specific examples. In 1991 the same survey that was used for biology teachers in Japan in that year was also given to scientists, and the scientists also had concern about general questions on biotechnology and genetic engineering, suggesting that familiarity with the subject does not always equate with lower degree of concern (Macer, 1992a).
As in the 1991 surveys and in the International Bioethics Survey, there was strong support for the specific examples of environmental release of genetically modified organisms (Macer, 1994a). The highest level of support was seen for bacteria to clean oil spills and disease resistant crops, with over a half supporting tasty tomatoes or meat with less fat. There was less support for making milk from cows, which certainly is a more questionable goal in Australasia, and least support for making a bigger sports fish. The fish is an example of enhancement genetic engineering. The responses to the questions about human gene therapy also showed teachers and the general public or students do have significant discretion over therapeutic and cosmetic applications of gene therapy. There was lower support for enhancement uses (improving physique, intelligence, making more ethical) than for treating disease, high support for use of gene therapy to cure disease, inheritable (fatal, non-fatal); and high support as an AIDS vaccine (Macer, 1994a; Macer et al. 1995a).
In general the teachers had a positive view of science and technology and for computers and nuclear power the social studies teachers were somewhat more positive. However nearly all the teachers expressed some degree of doubt about teaching science in the complete absence of consideration for environmental, ethical, and/or social issues, as well as expressing their own doubts about some technologies.
7.1. Current use and textbook analysis
There were three questions about the materials used to teach bioethical issues, and the results of these questions are summarized in Table 14. Most teachers said that they did not have sufficient materials to teach about these issues (Q12). The responses were very diverse, especially to Q22. Among the common responses in the "Many/other" category were school visits by scientists. In the South Australian survey (SCBI, 1992) of 120 schools the main request was for fact sheets, or discussion material - as was common in this survey. The issues regarded most important from their list of six were firstly genetic engineering, then in vitro fertilization, AIDS, abortion, euthanasia, and little interest was shown in surrogacy.
In the responses to Q11 we can see that more teachers in Australasia used textbooks to teach bioethical issues than in Japan (Table 14). A survey of 1993-1994 textbooks in Japan found that there was inclusion of environmental issues in almost all biology and social studies texts (Table 15, 16). There was mention of pesticides in two thirds of biology textbooks, and discussion of technical issues of genetic engineering in most. Genetic engineering was the major topic of the six we chose that did have some benefits and a few concerns included in most texts. There was also some discussion of nuclear power in social studies textbooks. No textbooks mentioned benefits or concerns about the research on computers or fibre optics, and 3% mentioned scientific benefits of animal experiments but no concerns.
There is however a trend to include more bioethical issues in more recent textbooks, as some issues are introduced, for example, bioethics has been introduced as a few pages of most Ethics textbooks since 1994.
There was also more collecting of materials by the teachers in Australasia, and more Japanese teachers did not express any source or answer Q11 (Table 12). In all countries other books and videos were being used, but among Japanese respondents to Q22, many said that they needed information.
|Q12. Do you have sufficient material to teach about these issues?|
|Q11. What books and material do you use to teach about these issues?
Q12. Do you have sufficient material to teach about these issues? What other teaching aids would you suggest?
Q22. What do you need, for example what teaching materials, if bioethics is included in the school syllabus in future?
|Need new information||3||20||14||0||16||7||3||23||11||4||15||3||0||1||9||0||1||5|
|Need to think||-||-||0||-||-||1||-||-||0.4||-||-||0||-||-||10||-||-||10|
* About 40% of the Japanese teachers did
not answer Q12, and about 40% of those who answered Q12 had doubts
about it, though also suggesting some material. The reasons
are based on %'s of the total who answered Q11.
Table 15: Analysis of bioethical issues discussed in Japanese textbooks (N=38) (not on-line)
Table 16: Benefits and risks of S&T topics discussed in Japanese textbooks (N=38) (not on-line)
In 1994 teaching materials were developed, as discussions sheets and sent to high school teachers who had requested a summary of the results of the survey (about 500 in Japan, and about 160 in Australia and New Zealand). These are being improved with feedback from teachers. The materials included discussion sheets on bioethics, assisted reproduction, human genetics, genetic engineering, and animal rights. These materials were open for free copying by teachers, and on-going assessment and improvement with the willing teachers in these countries, is encouraged. The materials are available on Internet We hope more teachers will join, and eventually some of these materials will be used in the curriculum to ensure all students get to think about these issues.
There was little response to the teaching materials, so in 1995 a survey of the use of teaching materials was carried out. A total of 457 reminder letters were posted to those teachers who had requested a summary of the survey results and had been sent teaching materials in 1994. Only 16 letters could not reach the teachers after address changes were noted, and from the 441 teachers, 43% responded by returning a reply paid postcard with several questions about the use of the teaching materials.
The number of respondents who said that they had used the teaching materials was low, being 11% for the Bioethics sheets; 6% for the Assisted Reproductive Technology sheet; 3.4% for the Animal Experiment sheet; 9% for the Genetic Engineering sheet; and 11% for the Human Genetic Disease sheet. Among those who used the materials, the major method of evaluation was student essays, though one third said they did not evaluate the students. We also tested the access to Internet, and found 18% said that their school had access to Internet, but 89% of schools had computers. This figure is expected to be increasing rapidly.
Despite the low use of the teaching materials, 45% said that they would like to receive the revised teaching materials, and 25% said that they would like to meet us to discuss bioethics education (and 39% of those who had used the materials). From late 1995 interviews with some of these teachers were conducted, and the 37 teachers who said that they would like to meet us were sent another questionnaire to seek their ideas on improvement of the teaching materials.
At the time of writing this report, an invitation to receive the revised teaching materials is being made to all high schools in Japan (over 5000), using a combination of fax and post. The results to date suggest that numerous schools want to receive the revised teaching materials (which will be simplified, and include additional teacher notes). About one half of those, also requested a copy of this report, and half said that they had some experience to teach bioethics. The responses came from all subjects, following a general invitation being made through the principals to all interested teachers, in addition to biology and social studies ones.
There is strong support for teaching students about the ethical and social issues associated with science and technology, and such issues are already introduced into the curriculum to varying degrees in these three countries. There is more inclusion in Australia and New Zealand than in Japan. There are curriculum reviews underway in all countries, and a trend towards more discussion of these issues. In Japan several bioethical issues were included in textbooks of ethics classes since the 1994 academic year. There has also been a trend to introduce bioethics into university training for teachers (Honda et al. 1991; Macer, 1992a). Many other teachers said some of these issues were already included in the curriculum, and the teaching patterns revealed by Q5 and Q9 supported this (Table 2, 4). There were a range of classes and years at which these issues were taught. Some teachers also felt that these issues needed to be taught at the discretion of the teachers.
There should be research into how these issues are being best taught, the most suitable issues, classes and the most effective way to make students think. They are relevant to both science and social studies classes, as well as other subjects. If we include bioethics as a subject in the curriculum we have to think about its evaluation. Tests will be set to measure students learning, but it is very difficult to assess real understanding of the issues. Several methods for assessing education of moral decision-making have been tested for general bioethics (Barman & Hendrix, 1983) and medical issues (Rest, 1986; Self et al., 1989). One of the important principles is that there is a continuum from acceptable to unacceptable and there is not necessarily any right answer. However, the process of making students think can help teach them to assess bioethical principles (Hendrix, 1993). Bioethics in our view should remain interdisciplinary, and is not only the teaching of information but the teaching of thinking, reasoning and decision-making, which involves balancing of the issues.
There is, arguably, more potential for teacher bias in moral issues to influence students views than in natural sciences or mathematics. One possibility to develop mature students is to have some issues covered from the perspective of different disciplines, such as biology and social studies. Over some issues there are some significant attitudinal differences between these two teaching specialities (e.g. science and quality of life, benefits of genetically modified organisms; benefits of biotechnology; benefits and risks of genetic engineering; level of concern about foodstuffs made from genetically modified organisms). Science teachers should also be encouraged to include the teaching of these issues in science courses, especially in some subjects, such as human gene therapy, biotechnology and genetic engineering, where there is significant difference in familiarity. However, in general when the perceptions of different areas of science and technology in Q7 and Q8 varied, it was along country lines rather than with teacher's speciality. Overall there were quite similar attitudes to many of these questions between the different countries, consistent with the general public and student attitudes revealed in the International Bioethics Survey (Macer 1994a). What was especially interesting was that many teachers had similar desire for future bioethics education (Q10), although they had had different teaching experience and style (Q6,9).
In an anonymous survey conducted in Tokyo high schools in 1994 among 386 ethics teachers, with a 26% response rate (N=100), 58% of those respondents had given classes about bioethics, and 51% thought that the textbook did not give enough room for bioethics (Okada et al. 1995). They also surveyed 9 Ethics textbooks and found that the definition of bioethics varied between textbooks, with the most attention being paid to organ transplantation and brain death.
The ethical questions involved in all these issues are not simple. One of the most controversial issues in schools is animal experiments. Society provides a complete range of opinions ranging from those who believe the use of animals is acceptable to teach biology, and solve problems including disease and genetic defects in humans to those who believe animals warrant the same standards we apply to people and should not be used for any research that may improve human welfare. The different factors that are relevant to the ethical balancing to decide whether a given animal experiment (Porter, 1992) is ethical include: the aim; realistic potential to achieve the objective; alternatives; species of animal; pain likely to be involved; duration of the discomfort or stress; duration of the experiment in terms of the animal's life-span; number of animals; and quality of animal care.
The benefits to other animals or humans resulting from any use of animals must be weighed against the cost (stress, manipulation, pain, loss of life) to the animals used for research or teaching. Only the minimal number of animals needed to illustrate the important biological phenomenon should be used and experiments must be adequately designed to satisfy this. The concerns expressed by teachers include are there other ways not using animals of displaying the information required? Is the question being asked of sufficient importance to justify the use of animals?
There are clearly differences between biology and social studies teachers, which in some questions are greater than the national differences. There is obviously an effect of practical experience of animal experiments in a high school class, though it was not seen in the quantity of ethical concerns but in the types of concern (Table 8). It is interesting to ask what reasons may lie behind this different response to practical problems between the three countries? We could imagine, culture, economy, policy, or religion, however, we may expect such factors to also be found in the types of comments made about animals by the public. The content of the guidelines, and the length of time they have been used and awareness of them, may be a stronger factor affecting practical attitudes to conducting animal experiments. We find Australians least positive about using animals in experiments, but New Zealanders and Japanese similarly positive to experiments, but with some differences in concerns.
We can see the full range of diversity of opinions in each country, with some very positive and others very negative. These three countries are all relatively moderate in the use of animals in schools, if we compare to the German Lander of Hessen which has a law to ban all experiments up to undergraduate level (Abbott, 1994), and other countries with no regulations. There appears to be the need for better education of teachers and students over the issues involved in animal experiments, and practical ways to minimise their use, the pain they suffer, and maximise the educational impact that they make. The availability of alternatives may also be an important factor in the future trends in the use of animals. There is a need for these issues to be incorporated into teaching training courses, the same way that training of persons who look after animals is encouraged. In the case of live vertebrate care the minimum requirements for researchers are laid down by law in some countries, for example, the Council of Europe (FELASA, 1995). What the survey found is that the majority of teachers expressed some ethical concern, which is essential for the implementation of guidelines.
There is a need expressed in education guidelines and background for students to learn about animals and have practical experience observing them, and we could actually expect the images of animals to change for the worse if people have no encounters with animals (Donnelley et al., 1994; Lock, 1994). The animal right issues actually provides a great opportunity for discussion of ethical values in class in a practical question (Stanisstreet & Williams, 1992; Rowan, 1995; Jamieson, 1995). Bioethics debate can be useful for development of students cognitive ability, and topics such as genetic engineering provide useful ways to stimulate this (Lucassen, 1995).
Education of decision-making is essential for the future bioethical maturation of society (Macer, 1994ab). This has been recognised world-wide (Meyer, 1991). From the teachers' images of bioethics (Q5) and the reasons why they thought bioethics education was needed (Q21), it appears that Japanese teachers could be considered to be at an earlier stage of consideration of bioethics, compared to New Zealand and Australian teachers. It will be interesting to monitor how, and if, Japanese teachers' attitudes will change as bioethics education becomes more common and experience grows. Also it will be interesting to see how bioethics could affect the education system in Japan, because often bioethics does not provide only one answer, whereas in Japanese education teachers tend to find only one right answer. Interestingly however, in a survey of the logical thinking process of Japanese students, they scored better than US students, and developed ability between 7th to 9th grade (Mattheis et al. 1992). There are several conclusions for educators from this survey, but a clear message is that no teaching discipline has a monopoly over the teaching of ethical, social or environmental issues of science and technology.
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We acknowledge the generous assistance of all the teachers who responded to the surveys, and various colleagues for assistance given to us. The surveys and development of teaching materials was supported by Grants in Aid for Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan (Grants #05680147, 60240686, 07690193); the University of Tsukuba; and the Eubios Ethics Institute.
We thank the Australian embassy in Japan for providing a list of schools for use in this survey, the ACT Department of Education and Training, and the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute. We also thank Yuko Kato, Minako Teramoto, Keiko Wakao, and Mihoko Yamanishi for assistance with the preparation of the surveys, and Tooru Katayama, Yuzuru Oguma, and Izumi Otani for useful comments in the preparation of the questionnaire.
This is a complete listing of open comments given in response to the survey. The number refers to our reference number in the statisitical data program, and the abbreviation "s" refers to social studies teachers. In the case of cross-assignment, the other category is shown after the comment (each comment appears only once in this list) .
To open comments
Macer, Darryl R.J. (Darryl Raymund Johnson), 1962-
Bioethics in High Schools in Australia, Japan and New Zealand / Darryl R.J. Macer.
Christchurch, N.Z. : Eubios Ethics Institute, 1996.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Genetic engineering--Australia--Japan--New Zealand--Public opinion. 2. Biotechnology--Australia--Japan--New Zealand--Public opinion. 3. Genetic engineering--Australia--Japan--New Zealand--Moral and ethical aspects. 4. Biotechnology--Australia--Japan--New Zealand--Moral and ethical aspects. 5. Bioethics--Australia--Japan--New Zealand--Public opinion. 6. Public opinion--Australia--Japan--New Zealand. 7. Medical genetics--Moral and ethical aspects. 8. Environmental ethics. 9. Education 10. Animal experiments. I. Eubios Ethics Institute. II. Title.
Key Words: Animal rights, Bioethics, Biotechnology, Education, Environmental ethics, Eugenics, Genetic Engineering, Genetic Screening, Gene Therapy, In Vitro Fertilisation, Medical Ethics, Nature, Nuclear Power, Pesticides, Prenatal diagnosis, Public Opinion, Reproductive Technology.
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