A practical guide for medical teachers by Dent, John A.; Harden, Ronald M.

By Dent, John A.; Harden, Ronald M.

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A good teacher facilitates the students’ learning by making use of a range of methods and applying each SECTION 1: Curriculum development method for the use to which it is most appropriate. Chapters in this book describe the tools available in the teacher’s toolkit: • The lecture and whole-class teaching remain powerful tools if used properly. They need not be passive, and their role is more than one of information transfer. • Small-group work facilitates interaction between students and makes possible cooperative learning, with students learning from each other.

Meeting patients and clinical practitioners reinforces the students’ underlying ambition to become a doctor (Dyrbye et al 2007). This intrinsic motivation will lead to more effective learning than the extrinsic motivation that arises from the need to pass examinations in order to progress to the next stage of training (Williams et al 1999). The second benefit is the provision of a clinical context for the learning of basic science. This contextualization of knowledge is important for the future retrieval and application of that knowledge (Schmidt 1983).

A multidisciplinary group agrees on the content of the curriculum through a process of discussion and compromise. The level at which the content is pitched is more likely to be realistic as the specialists’ views are immediately tested against those of their colleagues. The wider community of potential teachers should comment on the results of these discussions. The process of discussion and review should continue until a broad consensus is reached. It is particularly important that generalists should be included in the review process, as they are best placed to assess the utility of the decisions.

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