Friday, January 04, 2008

Teachers Vs. Professors

Med schools should hire actual teachers with actual training in how to teach. For that matter, colleges should too. It makes no sense to simply assume because someone is proficient in their field that they would necessarily be good at conveying that knowledge to other people, especially if they have received no formal training in how to teach. Maybe if professors were required to go through some basic training, they would be okay, but in many instances, I would prefer someone who knew less but was better able to convey that knowledge to me, instead of someone who knows a whole lot, but has no clue on how to communicate those ideas effectively. For more, let's turn check out some point/counterpoint action:

Teachers use instructional aids to guide learning and help students who learn through different modalities.
Professors put together 100+ slide powerpoints with 9-point font that they flip through at warpspeed with the assumption that if it was displayed, it was taught.

Teachers take the time to ensure that students understand key concepts, and explain the underlying mechanism in clear, concise ways.
Professors believe in the "Say it once, show it once, never mention it again til it shows up on 5 questions on the test" view.

Teachers add in interesting tidbits to make the lectures come alive, and also to aid students in remembering key facts.
Professors add in boring tidbits about their pet research projects to keep the class asleep, and also to torture students when these tidbits again show up on the test.

Teachers realize that if students are not understanding a concept, they should reconsider how it is being taught.
Professors believe that if students are not understanding a concept, then the students clearly have not being studying enough, and they should question the students' work ethic (true story).

Am I bitter? Perhaps a little bit. I guess I've just found that while studying at times, I'll come across a concept explained in a concise, easy-to-understand way, and I'll actually feel like a lot of things coming together, which is nice. However, it makes me wonder what I am paying the medical school for exactly, especially during the basic sciences. Perhaps I would have been better off investing in review books and studying those instead of wasting my time in lectures. Grr, stupid powerpoints.

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