Download Achieving Excellence in Medical Education by Associate Professor Richard B. Gunderman MD, PhD, MPH PDF

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By Associate Professor Richard B. Gunderman MD, PhD, MPH (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1846288134

ISBN-13: 9781846288135

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Example text

Happily, thoughtful people have been studying learning for many years, and important insights are readily available, if only we are prepared to look beyond the boundaries of our own field. This section reviews four important learning theories that powerfully influenced educational practice during the twentieth century. They are not the only learning theories that were developed during this period of time, nor were they necessarily the most important. They do, however, provide a broad overview of the spectrum of theoretical approaches to learning.

The goal is not to avoid getting caught having to admit that we do not know something, but seeking out the things we do not know and investigating them. Lack of understanding, unless it is the result of incuriosity or indolence, is not a sign of weakness, but an opportunity for learning. We should encourage our learners not to cover up what they don’t know, but to grab it by the tail and follow it where it leads. If being an expert means simply having all the answers, then the search for new understanding will inevitably be seen as a sign of weakness.

A novice, by contrast, is someone who has little or no experience. Drawn from the same Latin root as our word novel, a novice is literally new at some field of endeavor, like a medical student or resident on the first day of training. Competence comes from the Latin root competere, which means to be capable or qualified. Before novices can become experts, they must first become competent, and many of us become competent at particular tasks or fields of endeavor without ever becoming truly expert. If we are serious about promoting expertise, genuine excellence as opposed to mere competence, than we must distinguish between two different types of educational outcomes, processes and performances.

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