Medical students are from Mars - educators are from Pluto?



Publication Details

Ashcroft, E. & Simpson, H. K. (2008). Medical students are from Mars - educators are from Pluto?. ANZAME Conference 2008 Practice, Scholarship & Research in Health Professional Education (pp. 168-168). Sydney: University of New South Wales.


Introduction/background: Medical student's expectations of education are different from their counterparts in other university courses. Medical students are aware that they can perform well in a university environment. Their preferred teaching style might be influenced by their previous academic histories and focussed on knowledge transmission by traditional teaching methods. Medical students are high achievers, goal oriented and outcome focused, so teaching activities that they see as inefficient to gain knowledge, might be viewed with suspicion. This has become an issue for some students in problem-based medical curricula that pursue student-centred learning activities such as role plays or student presentations. Purpose/objectives: The competing interests of the School's educational values and mission, the students' characteristics and learning preferences and the teacher's teaching style may create challenges for an academic new to medical education. For this purpose, we developed a brief "Introduction to Quality Teaching in graduate entry medical education" specifically aimed at new academics working in our Clinical Skills Centre. Issues for exploration/ideas for discussion: A teacher's view of the learners' needs and expectations, the learners' expectations of learning activities and the School's imperative to transmit their values and mission may evoke little congruence. The literature suggests that teachers tend to prefer a teaching style that they were exposed to during their own education or teach how they would learn themselves. This usually restricts their repertoire of available teaching strategies, so a number of learner's may not be able to relate to their teacher's style. They may view an activity as a waste of time and fail to engage. This dissonance creates frustration, stress, disillusionment and apprehension. Teachers, however, who have been educated in learning theory and appreciate different approaches, are more likely to step out of their own comfort zone. This approach meets: the needs of more learners; manages to engage them more meaningfully in a rich learning experience and by interweaving the School's values and mission into the rational for creative learning activities creates a deeper understanding of individual contributions to society. This approach moves the stakeholders' expectations closer together, resulting in a larger overlap of ideas, creating awareness and knowledge, supports more effective teacher/learner engagement promotes meaningful interaction and successful knowledge creation & characteristics of quality teaching practiced on planet Earth. This presentation depicts the learning approaches addressed in our education programme and features principles and applications of: " Cognitivist orientation " Constructivist orientation " Behaviourist orientation " Principles of social learning " Humanistic orientation

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