Teaching. Teaching is a delivery of knowledge and giving impact on the next generation. In terms of teaching, I will discuss my roles as a teacher and a learner, narrate clearly about my teaching styles that I used to and will intend to apply. Relevant examples are given to cover the importance of the effectiveness of my teaching style as well as its downside.
My teaching style is dominated by two preeminent styles: ‘all-round flexible and adaptable teacher’ and ‘big conference teacher’. 1 These results are in line with what I have experienced. Currently, I lecture both theoretical and practical medical subjects. In small groups, I teach Problem-Based Learning (PBL) for theoretical subjects and Skills Laboratory as practical one. Whereas in large classes, I assist one of the lectures in Elective Block. As a medical teacher, I maintain my teaching roles as:
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Dreams need a helping hand. As a teacher, I feel responsible to motivate learners. I energize students’ spirit when they fail, guide and coach them in achieving their dreams. Students should be given an understanding that no goals can be achieved without putting any efforts. Conversely, learning is built with frequent exposure and practising.2
As a mentor, I am alert to students’ aptitude and learning styles. This allows me to nurture their development and heighten their enthusiasm. To do this, I use inspiring quotations to pump out the students’ mood. Consequently, not only they enjoy the class, but also love the lessons. Quality time, a form of dedication, is highly important for both of us. 3
3. Role model
“Our words and actions create our own world”. This motto keeps me to provide positive reinforcement for students continually. As a role model, I realize that there is a hidden curriculum that I have to nourish in students’ performance, particularly: attitude, communication skills, and social awareness. I do hope that my words and actions can inspire students to value other people’s lives, including patients’ lives. Encouraging learners to see all subjects holistically is equally important, thereby they will have a capability in making wise decision as junior doctors. 3
Learning. Based on educational theory, I found out that I am a Reflector and Pragmatist learner.4 This questionnaire enriched my previous perspective as a visual learner. I realize that being a constructivist learner also impacts my teaching methods. When I teach, for instance, I frequently provide examples and illustration, then relate them to my live experiences. 4-6 By sharing my experiences, I hope that learners compare them to their experiences.
Classroom Effectiveness. I use various methods of teaching. This helps students to get accustomed to working collaboratively as a clinical team later. I love using dynamic and interactive methods, including: discussions, activities, games, field trip, and role play. When I teach, for instance, I form the class into small groups, present a few questions, then let them brainstorm. I structure my teaching for not more than two hours by imposing recess in the middle. The aim of this is to create an alive and conducive learning atmosphere, either in PBL or small group discussion.
With good organization, I set aside my time prior to lectures to adjust materials and sequence appropriate with the time allocation. To facilitate, I provide up-to-date material, innovative teaching aids and media. Instructional technologies that I use include slides, pointer, flipchart, video, e-learning and simulation. I tend to prevent overload information. This is done by emphasizing most frequent cases and compiling similar topics into one module.
Several steps that I perform in classroom:
1. Offer students a Pre-test and Learning Styles Survey
I use “Index of Learning Styles” to find out deeply about my students’ preference and background.7 Over the years, most of the students are visual learners. Hence, it is advisable not to give lectures in one-way teaching method. For instance, I put visual aids like eye-catching pictures, diagrams, or video in class.
2. Define Learning Objectives
Learning objectives are important for students to have a broad viewpoint of what knowledge or skills they will accomplish by the end of the class.8,9 I emphasize the importance of understanding the materials along with other subjects as a whole, not only certain chunks of organ systems.
3. Illuminate rules and roles for learners
In large group settings, I discuss with students my teaching rules and learning outline at every first session.8,9 Whereas, in small classes, each student is given a chance to take turn in demonstrating the skills and procedures. I also provide them free time and rooms to practise out of class hours.
Sometimes, there is an uncertainty in students’ own motivation. However, I have a belief, the more we restrict learners, the more they do not respect us. Principally, I trust them as an adult learner and let them learn freely without my full supervision or intervention. Students’ feedback showed that they favor my teaching methods because they feel valued for being treated as colleagues. Their marks and attitudes are generally excellent. Likewise, faculty members have described my teaching as flexible and professional.
Students’ Background. My teaching is mostly based on class size, students’ background and interests. I had once a student who was always absent and come late. Previously, other stakeholders did not recognize his problems. After asking him in person, I came to know that he could not come to morning class due to consuming certain medicine. Next, I gathered the group which he involves in class. I asked the other students to help him participate in any discussions and project. Though his participation was slight in the first time, I could see a good progress of his passion to finish a degree. Later on, his internship performance was excellent and he graduated. Another case like students’ unwillingness to be a doctor is also plentiful to find. Being a sensitive teacher to students’ problems and conditions help me nourish their development and create an enjoyable environment for them to keep going.
Downside. One of my biggest struggles in teaching is facing destructive learners, especially those who often fail the whole entire semester. In PBL settings, for instance, such student is more likely to interrupt and not willing to tolerate other learners’ perspective.
Above all, I need to enhance my teaching capacity tremendously over time. To lead younger generations, I have to learn from others and understand the learners. This will allow me to ensure that all graduates are fit into the best practices as medical field is very much related to humans’ lives.
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