10 suggestions for health professions educators

Here are 10 suggestions for teachers in health professions education. These are not rules but rather a set of ideas that I think are powerful for enhancing students’ learning. There are others that are just as valuable but these are some that I like.

  1. Challenge students to do work at a higher level than they think they’re capable of. Students aren’t afraid of working hard; they just don’t want to be bored.
  2. Let go of power. Teaching is about developing independent thinkers who question authority. Let them learn by questioning yours.
  3. Teaching is about creating conditions that optimise for student learning. Everything that happens in the classroom should be informed by that singular idea.
  4. What students know should be subordinate to how they think. Assessment tasks should therefore focus on students’ thinking and not on what they know.
  5. Help students learn to negotiate uncertainty and develop a comfortable attitude towards ambiguity. They will need this in clinical practice.
  6. The next 50 years of physiotherapy practice will be vastly different to the last. Pay attention to the changes that are coming to our health systems and help students prepare for them.
  7. Feedback is about having a conversation with students where your objective is to help them to figure out how to do it better the next time. Design their learning tasks so that there is value in attending to your feedback.
  8. Learning happens in the mind of the student and only in the mind of the student, and they can’t be made to learn. But, you can create a space where they want to.
  9. Don’t confuse movement with progress. Giving students a lot of work is not the same as giving them an education.
  10. The Evidence will only get you so far. Creativity. Innovation. Relationship. Human connection. Empathy. Wonder and awe. Imagination. These are harder to cultivate but are more powerful for learning.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-05-17

  • “Encouraging educators to blog” http://bit.ly/2X2hO #
  • Article on PLoS re. management of large digital libraries for academics, together with adding “social” to research http://bit.ly/CWgHE #
  • Blog post discussing different challenges for researchers / scientists in managing their digital libraries http://bit.ly/xrBOT #
  • To err is human: building a safer healthcare system (free book from the National Acadamies Press) http://bit.ly/AdDgO #
  • ASCILITE conferences, a brilliant source of content for anyone interested in technology and education http://bit.ly/EugZP #
  • Inequality in society = high rates of drug /alchol abuse, mental illness, teenage pregnancy, homicide, and low literacy http://bit.ly/KuWEb #
  • Thought provoking post by Steven Downes re. open systems of assessment http://bit.ly/16U0Df #
  • Mendeley blog post on how the software affects journal impact factors and publishing models http://bit.ly/43bCB #

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Mozilla Open Education course: seminar 6

I know that this is all out of sync but the audio for sessions 4 and 5 aren’t up yet and I haven’t had a chance to go through the slideshows yet.  Today’s session was about the actual practice of teaching, using “open” as a framework.  Here are my notes:

Session 6 – Open pedagogy

Focus on educators and the impact of “open” on them.

Jason Jones

Initially started using wikis for groupwork.

Noticed a few problems when teaching – no one takes notes in class, “no real content”, inattention.  Also, when taking notes, educators aren’t always sure what notes are being taken.  Notes can “go wrong” when other thoughts intrude or when students mis-hear.

Paper notes are hard to improve and are private and difficult to organise.

Wikis are public and solve some of the problems just mentioned.  Everyone collaborates and there is negotiation of content.

An unexpected result was noticing that under the old system of teaching the only way you would know if the students have the wrong information is when they fail a test.  With a public wiki, you realise more quickly that students may be on the wrong track.

Lessons learned along with way.  Merely pointing students towards the wiki doesn’t work.  Students don’t always understand technology.  They’re also not sure what to record when taking notes, so templates are useful.  Students can sometimes find it difficult to use other resources (one benefit of using wikis / being online).

Problem of using old assessment techniques with new approaches to teaching and learning.

Garin Fons

Using wikis to get faculty to put teaching materials online, as well as collaborating with dedicated classmates to build community (reflect on communities of practice).

With wikis, faculty get a chance to have materials edited and reviewed in a way they can’t do alone.

Participatory pedagogy – John Seely Brown and the social view of learning.  We can no longer look at the classroom in a cartesian system.  We participate, therefore we learn.

Melanie McBride

Students create blogs as emerging professionals, rather than personal blogs (about what’s happening in their industry).

Found that some students weren’t very keen on blogging.  Reasons included: “I don’t know who I am yet, or who I want to be (powerful statement)…and that some don’t like the idea of being told what to do.  Anonymity was also an issue.

Students did take ownership of their own emerging industry knowledge.

“Banking” model of education = passive recipients of education.

Concerned with progressive asessment models.  Using wiki as means of checking in on student learning.

Issues of social justice and equity.  Not every student has access to tech (in America…try Africa).  Educators must be aware of that.

Pre-defined roles fall away with open pedagogy – students take ownership of courses and rewrite / restructure them.  Allow this to happen.  This can make teachers nervous.  Dichotomy of losing control but giving freedom.  Be careful about too much freedom.

Teachers and control…depends on the teacher, if they’re willing to dive into the participatory learning environment.  Getting teachers involved in the process.  What does their classroom look like normally and what is their teaching style?  Are they willing to break out of that?  if not, it’s difficult to move forward with this approach.

Mozilla Open Education Course

I’m excited to be participating in an open education course that’s been organised by Mozilla, ccLearn and the Peer to peer university (P2PU).  The course aims to provide educators with some foundational awareness of Creative Commons licensing, the educational aspect of the Mozilla foundation and the P2PU.  There are three broad areas that will be covered; open licensing, open technology and open pedagogy.

There’ll be a series of online seminars, as well as a practical component in the form of an individual (or small group) project that participants can use to implement and test their ideas related to the course.  Here’s a list of all the participants and the projects everyone is interested in running.

I’m going to post my notes / thoughts during the course of the project, on both this blog and on Twitter.