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International Chair in Bioethics - ICB 

International Forum of Teachers - IFT

First Webinar (out of 5)

How to Teach Bioethics – Didactic Tools & Emotional Intelligence

Prof. Sashka Popova

Prof. Russell D'Souza

Prof. Daniella Keidar

Held via Zoom on 01.12.2022


1. Introduction

This Webinar focused mainly on "HOW" to teach bioethics, in conveying skills and didactic means through which the study of bioethics will be experiential and meaningful as well as be absorbed among learners emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally in all their limbs and senses. The participants are equipped with practical and applicable tools and means for their real life guidance/training. This means experiencing special, fascinating and original processes that add higher value for the accumulated experience in how to impart bioethics to students.

2. Osmosis Learning

Osmosis Learning is the art of unconscious learning. It is where we stop studying materials and start absorbing them. This is an analogy for natural, organic and indirect way of learning. To learn through osmosis means a way of learning seamlessly.

Learning by osmosis is About Listening. It is about absorbing the workshopping by role play, debates, cinema and street play. It is how you apply meaning to what you see around you. This stimulates the innate talent of teachers and enhances the ‘Craft of Teaching’. It stimulates the Art for plucking the meaning out of the presentations, rather than mere facts and figures. This is how ‘Intuition’ is developed, which is the pulling force that separates successful knowledge transfer from some of the conventional forms of teaching bioethics.

This innovative reformed methodology from the science of knowledge transfer has the ability of in part of influencing the limbic system in the neurocognition of knowledge transfer. The limbic system is where emotions reside and where memory begins. It is where these two functions combine together to mark behaviours with positive or negative feelings with the training that is being experienced. This is where mostly unconscious value judgements are made. Information going through the limbic system is filled under “agreeable or disagreeable” folders as it were. This area plays a role in salience (what grabs one’s attention), spontaneity and indeed creativity.


3. General Guidelines

Following are suggested guidelines on how to structure a lecture/training:


3.1. Stage 1 - Opening - Stage of Stimulation and Ignition

"Pathos" Stage (according to the Aristotelian  presentation) - The stage of stimulating the students to active listening and personal, cognitive and emotional involvement that will awaken the spark of curiosity, listening and vigilance of the participants through diversified didactic aids and means.

Examples of didactic means: The lecture/training can be opened by asking the participants a question, posing a picture, raising a bio-ethical dilemma, showing a short movie, in a play, giving a very short and challenging interactive task and/or other means that it deems appropriate.


3.2. Stage 2 – Developing the Relevancy of the Subject to the Students – "The Ethos" - The depth of the training/lecture. At this stage the trainer/lecturer will bring his/her personality, faith, personal experience, goals, aspirations and destiny. This is the stage of raising the full attention of the students by making the subject presented relevant and practical to their everyday lives. This is the stage of connecting the theoretical topic presented, and offering ways, techniques and methods for integrating it into the students' daily and professional lives. The desire for listening and active cognitive and emotional involvement of the students is directly related to the relevance of the subject and to the way it is imparted.

Examples of didactic means: Presentation of a personal story and its integration into the subject; Raising tangible events from everyday life; Presentation of the decision-making process in dealing with an ethical dilemma; Etc.


3.3. Stage 3 - The Content Stage - the "Logos" (according to the Aristotelian presentation) - This is a stage in which the trainer/lecturer presents the content of the subject, the logical arguments, the theories and the "flow chart" according to which one can understand the main parameters included in the training/lecture.

Examples of didactic means: Using a short and stimulating Power Point (or other) presentation with logical and structured flow chart. Students can be asked to their personal references to the points raised at the opening. The raised references by the students can be connected to the subjects intended to be presented by the lecturer/trainer.


3.4. Stage 4 - End of Instruction - "Close the Circle" Step - Connecting the parameters raised during the lecture/training and refining the insights, processes and dilemmas that arose during the lecture/training.

Examples of didactic means: The trainer/lecturer can summarize by using of sentences such as: "We will summarize the processes we have undergone"; "We will ask ourselves the following questions….."; "The insights and dilemmas raised are..." and so forth.


3.5. Stage 5 – The Feedback - This is an important and crucial stage in the teaching/training process. The lecturer/trainer transfers the center of gravity to the students and asks them to crystallize the notions, ideas, dilemmas, questions, experiences etc. they "take" from the lecture/training to their daily and professional lives.

Examples of questions:

  • What are the key points to be addressed in the future?

  • With what emotions do you leave the training/lecture?

  • What conclusions did you make?

  • What advice would you give others about this?

  • Are there subjects that you would like to stress and/or investigate in the future?

4. Didactic Measures and Ideas that can be Integrated and be Used at all Stages of the Lecture/Training

4.1. The training/lecture should be constructed in a manner that will cause the insights and ideas conveyed to be fermented and simmered within the students.


4.2. The students are supposed to feel, hear, see, sense, wonder, doubt, understand and connect, imagine, be surprised, contain, assimilate, draw conclusions, decide, be internally motivated and want to apply the learned material, tools, means and system.

4.3. The students are supposed to be connected to one (and/or more) of their personal intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual, spatial, musical, movement, interpersonal, intrapersonal, territorial, environmental and moral.

4.4. It is important to stimulate spontaneous and intuitive processes in the students.

4.5. It is important to present concrete, tangible and practical examples related to the chosen topics.


4.6. It is suggested to take into account using at times humor.

4.7. It is suggested to be aware of the non verbal communication e.g. eye contact, body language, gestures, proximity, paralinguistic and alike.

4.8. It is important to transfer from time to time the "weight" to the students (dividing them into groups of activities) and to provide practical tasks to enhance the subject.

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