Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Teaching, the ability to communicate knowledge effectively, is a skill that I found lacking in too many of my instructors during my first year of medical school. At my school, the vast majority of first-year instructors use PowerPoint presentations during their lectures whether they know how to use the teaching aid or not. Given the countless discussions of PowerPoint on the web, I am confident that most of you have had to suffer through an incoherent PowerPoint presentation or two. You know the kind: too many words and undefined symbols on each slide, too many slides to cover in the allotted time, nothing said by the presenter to tie everything together.

In medical school, there is no time for poor instruction. A lousy lecture translated to me having to spend extra time organizing the material for myself. That took away from valuable study time and hurt my academic performance in some units. Thankfully, most of the gross anatomy instructors had great PowerPoint presentations which made that part of each unit relatively painless.

Being able to adapt quickly to the various instructors' teaching styles was critical to surviving my first year of medical school. In hindsight I realize that a key skill to have as a medical student is to be able to identify an instructor's teaching style, and then work with it. Once I learned this (unfortunately, later rather than sooner) it became much easier to go through the material. I could pick out important points or topics that I knew were likely to show up on the exam and make sure I concentrated my efforts there. Also, just as important, knowing your learning style is key. I tend to be a visual learning, so I would modify or create PowerPoint presentations for myself that contained a lot of figures and made use of colors to help me remember key concepts.

In the end, it is up to you to teach yourself.


stinky said...

It sounds like we go to same school.

Another med student in DC.

DC Med Student said...

Welcome! Thanks for reading my blog, Stinky.