Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Learning and Teaching

At my medical school, we're taught in a variety of ways. Traditional lectures, dissection, prosection, but also newer ways of teaching "Problem Based Learning", interactive seminars, teaching ward rounds, "structured patient teaching" and regular primary and secondary care (GP surgery and hospital) placements from your first year of study. Everyone has ways they learn best, and ways that aren't necessarily the best for them. Personally, I hate lectures. Often I feel they're "Death by PowerPoint" and it's quite easy to switch off in a warm, dark, comfy lecture theatre. Even easier to switch off when the lecturer turns up 10 minutes late, doesn't know what the lecture is supposed to be on, or what year of study you are (things that are rather important to know in my opinion!).

Recently, we've been timetabled some seminars, which are given by 2 different lecturers on alternating weeks. One lecturer is truly fantastic. He makes you think, hates PowerPoint, and obviously really enjoys teaching. The second sees the seminars as an opportunity to talk AT us, and show off how much he knows. Not something that is particularly helpful. I love learning, really I do, I wouldn't be at university if I didn't. But I have to be taught in an engaging way before I enjoy learning. Teaching is an important part of medicine - we're taught mainly by practising clinicians and other healthcare professionals, who see the stuff they teach us. This is unbelievably valuable and a fantastic learning opportunity for us as students.

Because of fantastic teaching, I myself find teaching other students valuable as a way of revising, and also I find it enjoyable - the look on someone's face when they finally understand something they've been struggling with is great when you've helped them reach that level of understanding. This has, however, left me thinking. I want to carry on teaching, and I've had fantastic feedback about my style of teaching. Should I look for more opportunities to teach as a student? I just don't know if my knowledge is good enough.