The first day of this workshop was anything but boring. The first thing that struck me, was that I am spending a week with people from all over the world, interested in the same thing: Teaching evidence-based health care (EBHC) – although this is quite obvious from reading the title of the workshop, it is great to be surrounded by people who know what EBHC is and who do not need to be convinced that teaching EBHC is essential!
The day started out with an introductory plenary session by Dr Carl Henegan in which he presented the five characteristics of a good teacher. To summarize, a good teacher:
1. is enthusiastic, energetic, excited (think about the best teacher you ever had – mine definitely fits this description and he was teaching Maths!)
2. is highly knowledgable in his area
3. maintains that knowledge (think: professional students)
4. is committed to life-long learning
5. is changing and influencing practice (this is probably the most difficult aspect since changing practice requires consideration of a number of other factors)
In our break-away session, we also experienced how telling a story can really grab the learners’ attention and set the scene for the lecture. This can be a personal story (which allows you to connect with the learners) a recent news paper article, or even a story about a German physician who, in the 1780’s, claimed that magnetism was the answer to ill health. (Read more about Franz Mesmer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Mesmer)
A teacher should take his knowledge, simplify it and communicate it to the learners – this in itself is a challenge. How do I explain difficult EBHC concepts to learners who know little about the field? This is only one of the questions I am hoping to have answered by the end of the week.
Luckily the wheather allowed us to spend part of the afternoon session in the lovely garden of St. Hugh’s College.
So, what do you think are other characteristics of a good teacher?