Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lemon Lectures

We just took our first cardio exam. We are now well into the body systems which means we are past the potpourri of random questions we had in anatomy (what do you call this thing/where is this thing?), biochemistry (how is this production process regulated?), and the other introductory classes. Now we have a potpourri of random questions specifically on the system we are studying and the exams all have the same format. How the thing works grossly, microscopically, and molecularly; what can go wrong, how it went wrong, and pictures of what went wrong; drugs to fix what went wrong, side-effects of the drugs, and interactions with other drugs or disease states.

Somewhere along the way (or perhaps I'm only now becoming aware of it) the professors aren't that interested in teaching for student understanding. Instead, I've formulated a hypothesis that the school wants to cover all the material we'll be exposed to during the next few years so that when we hit rotations they can tell the doctors they send us to how great it is that we have 'been taught' everything we need to know. At that point, when we don't know the answer to something, "the fault...lies not with the [school], but with us."

I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. A system like this rewards self-motivated learners who can make lemonade. I'm not saying that a cardiologist shouldn't teach cardiology or that a biochemist shouldn't teach biochemistry. In fact, the best chemistry teacher I've ever had was an analytical chemist. What I would like to point out is that, hour for hour, navigating textbooks and lecture slides is not nearly as efficient for understanding as a good presentation.



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