Indmedica - India's Premier Medical Portal - Cyber Lectures


Teaching and Learning

Page 3



Some teachers have an in born gift of the art and skill of teaching, but most of us learn and develop the skills as we progress in our career.

Most teachers are interested in teaching effectively and some may work for an improvement. The technique of Microteaching should be useful for such interested teachers. Later in the book, you will find a discussion on this simple technique of teacher training.

Under the present situation, teachers find themselves confronted with a large number of students, a vast body of knowledge to be comprehended, a rapidly changing field of information in many areas and a limited time available for teaching, in which students are expected to achieve a maximum level of understanding.

Therefore, the teacher may have to consider, what experiences will motivate the students and enable them to learn; how the information can be structured for a given group; which sequence and form of presentation would be most effective and how the individual differences amongst the students can be taken care of.

Considering all the above aspects, it seems that a teaching – learning programme based on community oriented learning by objectives should be most suitable in present circumstances. Properly developed learning objectives based on health needs of the community and current academic needs should be helpful both to the students as well as to the teachers.

Learning by objectives

Attempts are being made to develop learning objectives of different levels for different disciplines. However, for the time being, you may also consider to develop and document learning objectives for whatever topic the students would learn under your supervision. Similar exercise undertaken by a group of teachers working in a particular discipline or department would be even more effective and helpful to the learners.

Traditionally teaching is an interaction between the teacher and student under the former’s responsibility, in order to bring about expected changes in the learner’s behaviour.

What is the purpose of teaching?

The purpose of teaching is to facilitate learning. Meaningful and effective teaching should help the student to:

  1. create an interest in learning for the topic in particular and more knowledge in general.
  2. develop proper life- long learning habits and attitudes,
  3. acquire, retain and utilize the knowledge.
  4. achieve appropriate skills and use them with confidence.

What to teach

To learn everything in the field of medicine is impossible even in a life time. Some form of selection is therefore essential. Some form of stratification is also necessary. The accepted recommendation is to divide the subject matter into-


A. Must know – VITAL
C. Could know – DESIRABLE

Since the time is limited, the major aim of your teaching should be to cover the vital and most of the essential. The desirable could only be mentioned or suggested for self study.

How to teach?

We usually teach the way we were taught, unless there are reasons for a change.

How we teach also depends upon how much we care for the students, for the subject and for our reputation as a teacher; how much we respect ourselves, our students, our subject, discipline and our institution; and how much concern we have for the welfare of the students, community and the institution. If we do care, respect and have reasonable concern, it does not matter how we teach – it would automatically be effective and interesting. Perhaps there is nothing like the way for teaching.

Teaching-learning process is therefore a complex phenomenon. It appears to be an open ended spiral movement as compared to the linear model of conventional teaching. Considering the dynamic status of medical knowledge today, a medical teacher has to be a life long learner himself to keep up to date and well informed about recent advances in different fields.

This lecture is a humble attempt to induct Medical teachers into the teaching-learning process. On the basis of what has been discussed above, it is possible to identify three distinct components of this process. These include :

  1. Learning objectives
  2. Subject matter and teaching methodology
  3. Evaluation

In the lectures that will follow, we have tried to retain this basic format for our discussion. Let us emphasise it here that all these components are inter-dependant and one can not sustain without adequate support from others.

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