The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

The respondent is a cardiologist and a teacher at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in one of the top universities in Asia. He serves as an instructor for the medicine department, teaching cardiology since 1991. Decades of teaching gave him the experience in helping the students to develop as good doctors considering the different aspects that significantly needs guidance. Students being postgraduates, adults and advanced learners are treated as colleagues where in they are held accountable for all their actions.

An instructor in a medical school and a practicing doctor is a complementary profession. Serving as a doctor and a teacher at the same time, will reinforce the required knowledge in teaching the essential things in practicing the profession. Teaching in medicine requires mastery and expert knowledge of the specific bodily system that is taught and how it figures with the rest of body. Teaching skill and ability is just as important as technical and scholastic knowledge. It is crucial that the essential knowledge be conveyed to the students.

The teacher should be able to examine resource materials including books, articles, journals and patient examination results and select the significant information that is necessary for the student to process and assign it to them. Generally, teachers are also given the tasks to evaluate existing curriculum, and if necessary, modify and add activities to enhance the learning objectives. Another important factor to be considered is the criteria for assessing student performance and grading. A teacher should be able to objectively rank and evaluate students based on aspects and qualities that emphasize the Institution’s vision and mission.

Teaching in a medical school, although laborious, is a prestigious and influential position. Experience, qualifications and hard work are necessary in order to build credibility. Teaching and learning transactions is the central part of student-learner relationship. Learners, being adults and postgraduates are expected to do the assigned tasks given to them. Although in medical school, the volume of books and materials given are considerably greater as compared to undergraduates since they need to absorb a lot of important information in a short amount of time.

The teachers give lectures and seminars that are aimed to reinforce what the students have read and give emphasize on the important things. As a way to help students familiarize themselves on the important points of the lesson, additional activities are implemented based on a feasibility study conducted by the faculty aimed to assess student learning process and identify ways to enhance learning potential. The faculty of the medicine department of University of Santo Tomas believes that the practical way to teach medicine is the best way since it teaches the essential things needed in practicing the profession.

Practicality over theoretical method is preferred. For example, real cases are given to the students to analyze. Data about the patient is also included such as physical examinations, medical history, blood and other chemical tests, signs and symptoms. From these the students would investigate the case, assisted by the facilitator in a limited manner. The facilitator would only be present to give ideas and guide them up to a certain point. The treatment, prevention and medications would be concluded by the students through a simulation process.

In this way, the learners are able to practice what they learn, and be able to know the consequences of their action. A more hands on approach by the students will help them gain more experience provided everything is closely monitored by the facilitator (Jacobsen, 2007). Activities included in the curriculum are small group discussions, laboratory experiments, practical exams and the traditional long quizzes and end term exams. Being a facilitator would require that each of the activity be administered to the students and constantly customized based on their level of comprehension of the topic.

Small group discussion is an activity with the purpose of eliciting response from the students regarding their insights and questions about the topics discussed. The class would be divided into groups of several persons so that participation from each member would be maximized. Facilitators would ask a set of questions regarding the topic. The questions are predetermined and are designed to initiate critical thinking. As the student answers the questions, other students are allowed to comment or even refute the answer if there is disagreement. In this way, learning and competitiveness is fostered in the classroom.

It would help students to deal with colleagues and have a complementary relationship at the same time. Laboratory experiments are conducted by facilitators to give students actual trial and testing of scientific principles behind the topics. Facilitators, being actual doctors, know that simulations could greatly prepare students in handling themselves and accomplishing tasks needed when they face the real thing. That is what the experiments are all about. Basically students are given test subjects wherein the subjects are set in a particular situation with the variables manipulated to simulate a condition.

After which, the students are given the control to do any procedure that would reverse the condition to the normal state. Practical exams on the other hand, are given by facilitators as a test in which actual patients are involved. This actual contact with patients permits students to apply procedures and develop skills necessary to have a good relationship with the patient. It is important that in learning, all factors be considered including, how to positively develop the patient by applying appropriate treatment and also encouraging reinforcements.

Other practical exams involve actual specimens, such as cadavers and other parts of the body. Surgery for example, would have greater learning impact if students where to actually handle real specimens as compared to reading books. The variables involved can be compared to real life and presents a more practical way of applying knowledge (Ellen, 2006). Parts of traditional learning which are still part of the curriculum are the long quizzes and end term examinations. The facilitators use this tool to measure the learning curve of the students. It is scheduled after each topic or after each term.

The questions contained are carefully evaluated and aims to test both general and specific knowledge of the student about all the topics that has been discussed. It is important that tests would be reasonable and appropriate to the level of the learners so that it would help them to assess themselves and improve at the same time (Nagel, 2008). As a teacher, responsibility of guiding the student spiritually and emotionally is part of effective teaching. Facilitators give advice and send the students to spiritual retreats to help them develop their relationship with God, and in the process become better men (Wilbert, 2006).

Part of the facilitator’s responsibility is to objectively grade the student’s performance in the different tasks and examinations. As a facilitator, it would be rewarding to see your learners pass and achieve greater things. Grading is strict and very objective in order to maintain standards by the medical school and to produce doctors that are deserving and well trained, equipped with knowledge excel in the field and is moulded as to become a very passionate and considerate individual. Facilitators act as both teacher and guide to become a better human being.

Considerations are carefully given to those students that are with special circumstances such as sickness, personal problems and others. The facilitator examines the condition and gives consideration only when it is direly needed. Strict guidelines should be maintained at all times. Teaching is a very rewarding experience. Although handling a wide variety of students with different comprehension and understanding of the subject matter takes a lot of effort, you will greatly develop as a teacher. It is a privilege to be a part of an institution taking part in developing the country’s health care personnel.

Part of the privilege given by the medical school to teaching doctors, is free clinic assigned in the university hospital. They are able to have a private practice and use of other facilities of the university hospital. Aside from that, university sponsored seminars are conducted regularly, for the continuing learning of the doctors. These are conducted on school auditoriums, training rooms and classrooms depending on the number of participants. Computer access is also given to teachers which have a large database for journals, research materials and medical electronic books.

University facilities are available to teachers for their continual development. Teaching is also a process of learning for the instructors. In educating students, mastery and expert knowledge of the subject matter is required. And this could be attained through proper instruction and materials provided by the university (Larry, 2006). With regards to the non material rewards of teaching, it helps teachers in their personal development and social maturity. Dealing with students would require patience and humility. Not all students would have a high level of comprehension.

Experience teaches that postgraduates, although adults, have different levels of learning. Their premedical course also plays a role in how they study and understand the topics. It would take effort and time for the teacher to be able to familiarize and customize one’s teaching style to a class. A teacher should give tolerance up to a certain level only. Students will tend to abuse the teachers if they become over familiar with them. One of the important things a teacher has to take note is that respect begets respect. As a teacher, it is already a reward when a student gives due recognition.

A teacher’s reward is found on how the students treat him and how he guided the students to become better persons in life. Especially being in a postgraduate course, the students are considered colleagues that will look up to teachers as mentors in building their career. To be able to guide and pass on to them knowledge, but most importantly, lessons learned in life, is a privilege and a reward in its self. Disappointments are normal especially in the field of teaching, were hard work are always expected to bear fruits.

One point is that teachers are undercompensated with regards to the work pay. The effort it takes in lending one’s knowledge and experience to learners is a lot of effort and time. Considering this, teachers should be given better compensation not as motivation but a source for steady living. Another issue that faces teachers in medical schools are excessive work load that are allotted to them despite of the great service they give to the institution. In order for a teacher to properly handle a class, they need ample time to prepare.

Quality should not be substituted to quantity. Overall, teaching needs sacrifice and effort to accomplish the day by day tasks presented to them. The students should be the priority when it comes to formulating the curriculum. They should be guided accordingly with the objective of the institution as the criteria. And most of all, every aspects of human development including knowledge, values and virtues should be given attention.


Nagel D. (2008). T. H. E. Journal:”Report: Virtual Learning Expands Educational Opportunities Wilbert J. M. (2006). Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. Twelfth Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Ellen S. (2006). Teaching American Students: A Guide for International Faculty and Teaching Assistants in Colleges and Universities. Third Edition. Cambridge, MA: Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning Jacobsen A. D. (2007). Methods for Teaching: Promoting Student Learning in K-12 Classroom. New York: Addison-Wesley Larry, C. J. (2006). Educational Psychology. New York: Allyn & Bacon

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