Bang the gavel: animal experimentation on trial—an interdisciplinary mock trial at the school of health sciences

Rym Ghimouz, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Ovidiu-Constantin Baltatu, Luciana Aparecida Campos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Active learning activities offer opportunities for medical students to facilitate the retention of knowledge and develop soft skills. We aimed to create a guide for an interdisciplinary mock trial learning activity within the medical curriculum of the College of Medicine, Anhembi Morumbi University—Laureate International Universities, Sao Paulo, Brazil. We designed an “Animal Experimentation Mock Trial” in which students are coached to search for scientific, legal, and ethical arguments pro and contra animal experimentation in medical research. The mock trial is prepared and staged with student teams to play the 1) presiding judge, 2) the plaintiffs attorney and expert witnesses contra animal research, 3) the defense attorney and expert witnesses pro animal research, and 4) the jury. The plaintiff and defense teams made presentations, and between each presentation the jury put questions to presenters (cross-examination). The jury team gave two evaluation scores after the plaintiffs presentation and then after the defense presentation. The formal feedback for this active learning activity indicated that students expressed satisfaction with the teaching strategies employed in the course. The mock trial with the lesson plan provides a learning mean to exemplify the complex relationship between animal experimentation, medical evidence, ethics, and law/regulations. This mock trial helps medical students to develop their soft skills, such as the ability to collaborate and also to recognize the limits of their own knowledge, important for professional development. The importance of interdisciplinary discussions is demonstrated by increasing the awareness of the multidisciplinary aspect of animal research.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)44-47
Number of pages4
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • 21st century skills
  • health sciences curriculum
  • higher education
  • mock trial
  • student engagement
  • student-centered learning

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