SAAHE conference, 2010 – day 3

How can teachers improve their teaching using concepts that matter? (Prof. Joke Denekens)

We have to reduce the context, content and noise when moving from a clinical setting to an educational setting. In an educational setting, we have to create context and content

There are, in principle, similarities between South health system and the Belgium health system. Different scales and context, but problems exist nonetheless

Development of competencies is an ongoing process, because the health system, science and society is changing all the time

Millers pyramid is a simple model of competence

Students work for what you inspect, not what you expect


Drowning in words (Athol Kent)

Teachers don’t know what student’s don’t know, so we might use language / concepts that students aren’t familiar with. Relates to Bechers’ notion of tribes

knowledge is gained by understanding, but before you can understand concepts, you must understand language

Developed a self-teaching concept that is computer based i.e. a dictionary of terms (what do students need to know to converse in this “tribe”

Students self-test when they think they are ready and they need 80% to pass

Interesting discussion following presentation. Will be great to extend the platform to include not only definitions, but deeper concepts. Athol suggested they are moving towards offering multiple levels of access i.e. superficial for quick review, more in-depth content for further though, and also adding links to more material. I suggested making an open wiki for the project, which would allow faculty to scaffold / structure it, but students could also participate in the direction it goes.


Knowledge and attitudes of Wits medical students concerning the role of nurses in the healthcare team (O Oyedele)

When doctors and patients work together, patient care is improved

Negative stereotypes hinder effective collaboration

When groups from different disciplines do work together, they end up having higher levels of respect for each other

Study looked students perceptions following an interdisciplinary module where medical students are taught by nurses during a “nursing block”

Nurses should have an equal “social” status as doctors? That’s a perception determined by society, not doctors. Wouldn’t it be more relevant to find out if nurses should enjoy the same “professional” status as doctors?

Some stereotypes about nurses persist among medical students at Wits

But there were also clear benefits to nurses teaching medical students on nurse-orientated blocks.


Reflection sucks – Avoiding the black hole: medical student responses to formal reflection during an academic service learning module (D Cameron)

Students have weekly, facilitated reflection sessions, as well as written reflections before, during and after the sessions – during a 4 week academic service learning module in a Primary Healthcare Clinic

Reflective learning:

  • What happened? What did I do? How did you feel?
  • Why did this happen? (various points of view) → reviewing concepts
  • Does this make sense in relation to what I know? → theorising and forming new ideas
  • Planning for the future, how will this influence practice

Do students grasp the concepts of reflection?

Asked students what has happened during the past week to influence students opinions of reflection, and then convince a colleague why they believed that

Perceived benefits:

  • Personal growth
  • Self-insight
  • Camaraderie
  • Self-confidence
  • Changed attitude to service

“Nobody can take my reflections away from me”

Some students dislike written reflection, but are OK with verbal reflection

Students have had negative experiences where they write reflections but don’t receive feedback, this frustrates students

Students are briefly introduced to Kolb’s cycle to provide some context to the students


The differences in perceptions in GEMP III and GEMP IV students in the exposure to expected case competencies of internal medicine at the 3 Wits academic hospitals (F Indeviri)

Reclassification of one of the hospitals led to a reduction in the number of common conditions seen at that hospital

Few students are satisfied with the level of exposure to competencies they receive

Students felt that the block rotation was too short to adequately cover the core competencies

Students also preferred to go to hospitals where they would see a greater variety of common conditions that would allow them to gain greater exposure to core competencies


The scholarship of pedagogy in the health sciences: On teaching, learning and qualitative variation (Shirley Booth)

Scholarship is a hallmark of academic professions

Teaching and research should be placed on an equal footing, and promotion strategeies should take it into account

Scholarships of discovery, application, integration and teaching (Boyer, 1990)

It’s important to reflect on your own practices, as well as the practices of colleagues

Scholarship of teaching (Kreber, 2002)

  • Excellent teachers – full participation and approval of colleagues and students
  • Expert teachers – making full use of resources
  • Scholarly teachers – all of the above, but also sharing outcomes / results as local and global knowledge

Academics conceptions of the SoT&L (Trigwell, Martin, Benjamin & Prosser, 2000, pg. 160)

  • Scholarship (discovery, application, integration, teaching)
  • Scholarship of teaching (making teaching insights public)
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning (as above, with learning brought into focus)

How do we bring learning into focus? Do we give students the essence of what they need to know, or do we open it up to allow them to identify what they need to know?

Methodologies for SoTL

  • Ad hoc approaches
  • Informed by disciplinary research
  • Educational theory (often from sociology or psychology)
  • Educational research approaches (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods)
  • Phenomenography – a purely educational (or pedagogical) research approach: an analysis of qualitative variation which brings learning into focus

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.