A review of ethics education in healthcare literature and the case for a dialogical pedagogy
At 38th Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia: Dialogue and Difference.
03 - 06 Dec 2009.
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In the United Kingdom, as in other countries, the increasing need for care has led to a shift in the dynamics of the workforce. Higher levels of responsibility across all types and grades of worker are now evident. The acquisition of ‘skills’ and a need for increased bureaucratic efficiency are the solutions of policy makers, however insufficient attention has been given to the - arguably more important – new moral responsibilities incumbent on workers who hitherto have not required such a thorough understanding of what informs their ethical judgments and care provision. That this is in a context of reported disengagement, moral strain and a ‘task-focused’ approach, further demonstrates the importance of ethics education that is relevant and appropriate. In this article I shall argue that a dialogical pedagogy is required. In enabling students to critically understand the, often contradictory, emotional, intellectual and practical demands which assert themselves in such complex work, skills-based approaches fall short. The enormous gap between moral theories and the students’ own experiences can lead to confusion, disaffection or more likely the abandonment of theoretical insights altogether. I propose that educators need to embrace the ethical dimensions of their topics in all teaching and learning activities.
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