Teaching the Teacher Success is: 1.) what you know, 2.) how you use what you know 3.) how do you communicate your knowledge and skills When we communicate with others, we are teachers: e.g., - our colleagues - patients - friends - superiors; - and those who control financial resources. Thus we are all teachers and one secret to success is: “How to Improve Our Teaching Skills” I have been teaching medicine for 45 years. I may not be the best but here are some facts I feel are important. Hints on Good Teaching Glenn S. Bulmer, Ph.D. Prof. Emeritus, University Oklahoma School Medicine (USA). VP ISHAM International (1997-2000 & 2003-2006). Prof (ret.) UST School Medicine & Surgery, (Phils.)., China: Prof (hon): 1) Third Military Medical Univ., Chongqing; 2) Guiyang Medical College; 3) Xinjiang Prov. Hospitals 4) Peking Medical Univ., Beijing; 5) Sun Yat-sen Univ., GZ I think that two factors are involved in being a really good teacher: A) Inherent, i.e., your genetics B) Acquired, i.e., what you can learn to be a better teacher A) Inherent - Most biologists believe that life is influenced by genes and environment. - It is debatable which one of these two is the most influential? - If genes are important in being a good teacher, one should be born May 3-10. This is Taurus II which astrologists call “the week of the teacher”. I like this because that includes my birthday!!! - However, if you are Taurus II your genetic edge is very small, so you must acquire much on your own. B) Acquired: I want to show you 9 ways that will help you to be a better teacher. 1.) Teach with some entertainment. - A good teacher must presents facts, data and knowledge. But he must make this process pleasant and easily accepted by his students. The students at many medical schools in the USA award their faculty for Excellence in Teaching. At the medical university I worked at for 28 years, one faculty member always seemed to win this award. I decided to learn his secrets of good teaching so I attended many of his lectures. At first I thought his lectures were wonderful, i.e., they were entertaining, he told many jokes and made the students feel good. However, after the lectures I asked myself, “What did I learn from that lecture?” I had to admit that I learned nothing new. Yes, he was a great entertainer but a poor teacher. A balanced lecture: Good teaching Data Entertain Facts Pleasure All facts: dull teacher Entertain Pleasure Facts Data All entertainment: poor teaching Facts Data Entertain Pleasure Acquired (con’t) 2) Know your audience. - When asked to lecture the first question I ask is, “Who will I be lecturing to?” a) What level is their education, e.g., are they medical students, technicians, residents (if so, what field?) or are they non-medical people? It is important to know their level of education and interests. b) Is this an English speaking audience or will a translator be needed? If non English, use many slides, talk slowly and use a blackboard. c) What type of lecture do they want? - Is this an advanced lecture on their specialty, e.g., “Current therapy of mycoses.” - Overview of their fields, e.g., “Mycoses in China during the past decade”. - Philosophical or opening of a Symposium, e.g., “The challenge of Orthopedic Surgery in the New China.” Never give a lecture until you know the audience and what type of lecture is appropriate. Acquired (con’t) 3) Get the picture? - Many years ago, I was preparing a lecture on a fungus disease. This is a fungus disease which begins on the finger and progresses up the lymph nodes of the arm. Acquired (con’t) During lecture preparation, a friend of mine called me from the clinics. He told me that he was seeing a patient with this disease. He suggested I come to the clinic to see the patient. Instead I asked if he could bring the patient here and we would present him to the students during my lecture. He agreed and brought the patient. The two of us took the patient into the lecture room. For the next hour we discussed the patient who even participated by discussing how and why he got his disease. The students were greatly impressed, and, for many years after students would stopped me and told me how much they appreciated that lecture. Acquired (con’t) That case changed the way I taught forever. Thereafter, I used many pictures (e.g., patients, fungus cultures, histopathology slides), experiences with patients and stories about therapy. Thus, I tried to make each lecture come alive. Acquired (con’t) 4) Know your subject. - The main reason why lecturers are nervous is because they feel inadequate about the material in their lecture. - Remember the old saying, “Fear is lack knowledge.” - Some fear is necessary to keep us alert. - But never give a lecture unless you feel very knowledgeable about the subject. Acquired (con’t) 5) Contact with the audience. - Many lecturers feel that they and the audience are competitive, e.g., adversarial or combative. - Try to overcome this by being friendly with your audience before the lecture begins. - If you are afraid to look into the eyes of the students, look at their foreheads, they won’t know the difference. - Always be honest, even to admit you are wrong or don’t know. Acquired (con’t) 6) Be up-to-date. - When I visit the office of colleagues I am amazed to see how old their books are. If you are not up-to-date the students will be the first to notice and they will lose respect for you. - Always keep up-to-date: Go to seminars, read new books, and use the Internet. - Be careful not to be always teaching “the latest” because tomorrow “the latest” is old news. Acquired (con’t) 7) Timing. - Many lecturers seemed to be in a hurry to finish their lecture. Maybe it is old and dull for them so they are happy to complete it. - Remember that, this is the first time the students have heard this material. They need time to digest it mentally. - Slow down. Look at your students and you will see if you are going too fast. - When I make an important point, I stop as though I am thinking about that myself. Acquired (con’t) 8) Visual Aids. - Most of us use visual aids such as pictures, 35mm slides, or more recently, PowerPoint presentations. These can be extremely important but they must be presented well. - For example, let’s look at some tables to study different approaches; The following is an example of a very poor table. There is too much information. The audience will not be able to see what is important and will learn nothing. Serum cryptococcal antigen titres and main necropsy findings of koalas from wild population at Port Macquarie, NSW. Koala Age Sex Nasal Cryptococcal Main Necropsy Colonization antigen titre 39 <2 Female 0 NVL 40 <2 Female 0 Acute oxalate 41 2–4 Female - 0 Urogenital tract 42 3 Female - 0 Trauma 43 4 Male NR 0 NVL 44 3–6 Male NR 0 NR 45 5 Female - 0 Ill-Thrift 46 6 Female 0 Pulmonary 47 6 Male - 0 Bilary 48 6 Female Acute tract 49 6 Female + 16+ NVL Trauma 50 8 Male 0 Urogenital oxalate 51 7–9 Female - 4+ Acute renal failed 52 7–9 Female + 8+ NR 53 9 Female + 4+ NR 54 > 10 Male + NVL 55 > 10 Male 0 Trauma This is another example of a poor table. Note that some colors are very good while others are terrible. Serum cryptococcal antigen determinations from koalas with clinical cryptococcosis necropsied at Faculty of Veterinarian Science. Koala SEX Age Main Necropsy 132 Female 3 Nasal cavity disease, early dissemination 133 Female 8 Nasopharyngeal disease. 134 Female > 10 Nasal cavity disease 135 Male 1 Wide dissemination 14+ Male 9 Nasal cavity disease 136 Male 10 Meningoencephalitis 137 Male 5 Pneumonia A very good table: not too much data and good colors. Serum cryptococcal antigen determinations from koalas with clinical cryptococcosis necropsied at Faculty of Veterinarian Science. Koala SEX Age Main Necropsy 132 Female 3 Nasal cavity disease, early dissemination 133 Female 8 Nasopharyngeal disease. 134 Female > 10 Nasal cavity disease 135 Male 1 Wide dissemination 14+ Male 9 Nasal cavity disease 136 Male 10 Meningoencephalitis 137 Male 5 Pneumonia Visual Aids (con’t) We may spend years developing good data from our research. But, in a lecture, we normally have 1-2 minutes to present it. Thus, it is important to design tables that are clear and meaningful to the audience. Acquired (con’t) 9) Be a salesman. - Students are not as interested in your specialty as you are. Thus, you need to sell yourself and your product (i.e., your specialty) to the audience. - For example, many people feel that the study of Infectious Diseases must be a very dull subject. But to you it is extremely exciting and always changing. For this reason I feel you must make your field alive. Sell it! Acquired (con’t) -I feel it is important that a teacher challenges his students intellectually. There is an old saying: “A really good teacher can drive a student to think.” -As a teacher, this is your responsibility. Remember that the primary purpose of a teacher is to be replaced. Hopefully some of the better students in your audiences will be your replacement. - Lastly for medicine to advance our students must eventually be better than us. Thank You!
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