My Journey as a Medical Educator

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My teaching ‘style’

  • Using the strengths and knowledge of the student to solve problems themselves and only providing just enough information when they get stuck so they can continue to move forward
  • Socratic – teaching as dialogue rather than monologue
  • Providing re-usable generic structures, schemas and approaches to addressing clinical problems and letting students extrapolate the details and ‘fill the gaps’
  • Teaching by presenting increasingly difficult problems, challenges and dilemmas that test preconceived approaches and understanding
  • Comparing, contrasting and connecting different concepts to encourage students to develop increasingly complex mind maps

What’s changed over time?

  • Creating learning activities that are appropriate to student ability, clear enough to require minimal guidance, and challenging enough to stimulate reflection and exploration.
  • Giving less concrete answers to specific problems but describing pros/cons of different approaches depending on varying situations

What I like to do more of?

  • Giving students more time to explore, question and reflect rather than giving them specific dictums  (‘the learning conversation’)
  • Being patient with how much a student is capable of and adjusting the pace of the lessons
  • Encouraging other clinicians to be better educators by the same techniques I use to create better clinicians

What still frustrates me about some students?

  • Those who dismiss the importance of getting the basics right or not constantly referencing back to them as they progress
  • Not building on lessons that have already been taught or increasing the level of sophistication of their knowledge
  • Those who see knowledge as discrete theoretical units to be memorised rather than material upon which to discover wide ranging patterns and interconnections that can be applied in different ways
  • Viewing education programmes as representing the breadth of knowledge to be gained rather than a solid foundation on which to independently build on
  • Concrete learners who always look at the superficial aspects of an issue rather than delving into the underlying deeper ones
  • Clinicians who try to prematurely recognise patterns or mimic reasoning behaviour without bothering to understand the rationale that underlie each specific decision
  • Not asking enough questions but just become passive receptacles of knowledge
  • Those who are predominantly motivated by external factors e.g. formal assessments, reports, exams, approval rather than internal ones e.g. inquisitiveness, wonder, excitement, competence
  • Whose best explanation for most statements and actions was ‘I was told that once….’ rather than ‘I researched this and discovered…’

 

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