Bradford VTS Online Resources:

Teaching & Learning

Teaching for Beginners

Videos

Although some of these videos talk about teaching at school, the key principles are transferable to teaching adults in General Practice.

How to be an effective teacher (isn’t he just wonderful?)

Cognitive Load Theory

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Effective Teaching in the 21st Century

10 Fundamental Teaching Tenets

Ram’s 10 tenets for teachers and educators are…

  1. I am here to set off the spark that enlightens my learners.
    I want my learners to want to learn for themselves.  I want to help facilitate their motivation to learn.   I want that yearning for learning to be internal more than because of external rewards (like passing an exam or a certificate).    This may mean I need to start gently for some – building their self-esteem and signposting achievements (no matter how big or small). It feels good when you help individuals seek meaning for themselves.
  2. Each learner is different, which I will embrace as the great thing that it is.
    I might perceive one learner as more capable than another.  But I will never allow this difference of capability to undermine the experiences that each has had.    Indeed, the less capable person may have had broader and more profound experiences than the capable.   It is this wealth of different experiences in the same subject matter that provides a rich resource for learning.  
  3. I will try to inject creativity, energy and joy in my teaching/training sessions.
    Trainees learn effortlessly when what they are being taught is being done so in a bed of energy, passion, creativity and fun.   There is no such thing as a boring or dry subject.   Any material can be boring or exciting – it depends on the way you present it.  
  4. I will constantly look out for new ways of doing things.
    I know that if I rest on my laurels or continue  to do things the way I have always done them – one thing is for sure: my teaching will become stale and stagnant; my enjoyment will dwindle too. Being on the lookout for doing new things not only builds my skills but recharges my batteries and power-boosts my zeal for teaching even more.
  5. I shouldn’t always be doing it for them if they are capable of doing it for themselves. 
    Independent learners direct themselves and that is what I am striving for.  So, rather than give direct answers all the time, I will think about taking a step back and teaching learners how to find out things for themselves.  Of course, sometimes (especially in medicine), the learner wants a quick answer (especially if the patient is in their consulting room waiting), but it is the balance that is important.   At times, I might give direct answers, but at other times I will place more emphasis on facilitating a learning process over the end output or answer.
  6. I will remember that even if I disagree with an individual, they still deserve my respect, compassion and kindness.
    When you show someone respect, you get respect back.    Individuals are more likely to listen to alternative points of view if the conversation plays out on neutral territory rather than one in which there is a powerful dominance of one person and the putting down of the other.  Shame and humiliation are never a part of teaching and learning.  I will take each learner on their merits and not judge them prematurely. No doubt I will make premature judgements about individual learners, but I will put these to one side and find out more about them first.   I will remind myself that impulsive judgements are often wrong.  
  7. I will see challenging learners in a positive light.
    To help a challenging or difficult learner often means going back to basics and revisiting fundamental thoughts, principles and concepts – and working from there.  Difficult learners or difficult trainees is a bad term because it implies something is wrong with them.   Often, they are not – the educator needs to find a |”different way” of doing things just like there are many different routes from Leeds to Birmingham (and many of the less direct routes are more beautiful!).  This requires me to use my facilitation and other teaching skills.   Once I have moved a challenging individual towards a more desirable place, not only is that good for the learner, but imagine how good it will feel for me to have a hand in that process.  And in the process, I will  have built additional teaching and training skills that expand my repertoire of educational methods.  In other words, we will both grow and develop together.   It feels nourishingly good compared to the capable learner who sails through without much input from me.  The path of least resistance isn’t always the best.   The path with more often has more unexpected fruits to give.   Working with others is nourishing.  Getting involved is the first step.
  8. I will give myself the same care, attention and consideration that I give to others.  
    I must look after myself.   Yes, I will go the extra mile for trainees when required, but that doesn’t mean I will go an extra 100 miles!    I must not forget my family, my friends and my hobbies.  All of these things help build a nourishing and enjoyable life for me.   And if I end up not being a good place, then it is likely I won’t be in a good place for my trainees.   Therefore, I must listen to my internal feelings about how things are going for me as well as listening to the casual feedback from others who love me – even if its about things I might not want to hear.  Time spent relaxing is time well spent.  This helps me achieve a better internal state for those around me as well as for myself.  I have a duty to myself and my loved ones, not just to my trainees.
  9. I will not take it personally when my trainee fails.  
    I will remember, that the  trainee who fails does not mean I am a bad educator or trainer.  Sometimes I might well have contributed to it.  Hence, I should always ask myself the question of whether I could have done things better or differently.   But at other times I should remember, especially in times of difficulty, that I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN.   The learner has responsibilities too.  
  10.  You tell me – write a comment in the comments box below.  
    I’ll add the best ones to this list.

If educational institutions want their students to rate teachers as effective, championing love and passion for a subject and teaching is perhaps one of the best ways of doing so.

Please leave a comment if you have a tip, spot an error, spot something missing or have a suggestion for a web resource.
And of course, if you have developed a resource of your own, please email it to me to share with others.

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