Thursday Born

The everyday life of a medical student (who was born on a Thursday).

Engaging Teachers

with 4 comments

While a good majority of my medical education is lectures, there are some small group sessions. A good majority of those small group sessions are a bit more like mini-lectures, but every now and then I get lucky and have a small group leader who really engages us.

A month or two ago I had that experience in a one-time radiology session. About ten of us and one radiology resident, plus a bunch of chest x-rays. He made each of us take a turn talking through the x-ray, asking us questions, then asking leading questions when we floundered. It challenged us, but it didn’t make us feel like we were idiots. I was expecting yet another lecture with a ton of slides, so I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out, and how much I enjoyed it.

My GI small group leader does pretty much the same thing, and he’s great. Usually I can just sit silently, listening but not really absorbing what’s going on. I think I understand but then when I look at the material again later, I realize that it went in one ear and out the other. I’ve started to bring my laptop (since I take notes now! :D), and I’m really glad I do; he goes around the room and asks us questions based on the cases, and he doesn’t just ask us the questions we’re given ahead of time. I find myself having to look things up during the session so I can answer what I think he might be asking when it gets to be my turn, while also paying attention to what’s currently going on. And I’ve been making sure I’m caught up with the material and that I’ve read the cases the night before. But it’s not a hassle, and I don’t grumble about how he makes us all participate. I love it. I love feeling like I’m actually learning medicine and understanding what’s going on. I love not feeling completely lost because the questions are only being answered by people who really seem to know their stuff; instead, I’m seeing other people struggle and realizing that it’s okay not to know so long as you try to think it through.

And I’m thinking that maybe I’m not wrong to look forward to third year, if this will be central style of teaching. I can do this kind of learning. Where I really need to prove that I know something instead of just being able to pick an answer out of a bunch of choices. Grades have never been a good motivator for me, but not wanting to look stupid in front of others? Wanting to look smart? That’s the right kind of fire to light under me that gets me up and moving (or rather, down and studying).  I admit, I’m still a bit scared of third year, especially since we know nothing about it. At first I thought it was going to be really hard, and then I thought maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, and now I’ve been hearing that no, actually, it will be pretty difficult.  In about two and a half weeks we have another class meeting with the career counseling office (first and only other one was last year) so maybe they’ll shed some much needed light on Step 1 and third year, because so far we’ve been relying on each other and upperclassmen, with next to zero official information.

P.S. Just wanted to brag that I normally don’t spell check my entries, but I decided to today, and no errors! Well, minus the fact that it thinks I should hyphenate “much needed.” Huh.

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Written by Aba

November 17, 2010 at 2:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. I’ll make you even happier–“much needed” doesn’t need hyphenated!

    dorianagraye

    November 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    • Awesome! =D Thanks!

      Aba

      November 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

  2. Our school is set up similarly, mostly lectures and some small groups. And a great small group leader can definitely make alllll the difference in learning, can’t they? I find that for some reason, the pathologists all seem to be the best teachers/small group leaders!

    Marianne DiNapoli

    November 24, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    • You know, that’s pretty true about pathologists! Their small groups have been generally solid. My personal favorites are the ER doctors.

      Aba

      November 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm


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