Teaching bioethics with visual education tools, such as movies and comics, is a unique way of explaining the history and progress of human research and the art and science of medicine to high school students. For more than a decade, bioethical concepts have appeared in movies, and these films are useful for teaching medical and research ethics in high schools. Using visual tools to teach bioethics can have both interpretational and transformational effects on learners that will enhance their overall understanding of complex moral and legal issues in medicine and research.
High school students are uniquely suited to learn bioethics because they will soon become legal adults. As adults, they will make moral decisions that may affect their health and wellbeing as well as that of their communities and societies.
However, not all visual education tools are appropriate for bioethics pedagogy in high school. Bioethics film and comic producers must consider the specifics of student age, race, gender, belief, level of education, and sexual orientation. Such tools must not be dominated by either dystopic or utopic genres, must aim for objectivity, and must consider the complexity of ethical decision making. It is critical that the teacher, who is the final arbiter regarding the use of visual tools in the classroom, determines that the visual learning tool is acceptable for students in any particular education context. In addition, during the conceptualization and creation of these tools, bioethics film and comic producers must work harder to ensure that these visual tools are devoid of any form of stereotyping.