H.L. Mencken wrote "[The] ability to impart knowledge, what does it consist of, a deep belief in the interest and importance of the thing taught, a concern about it amounting to a sort of passion. A man who knows a subject thoroughly, a man so soaked in it that he eats it, sleeps it and dreams it—this man can always teach it with success, no matter how little he knows of technical pedagogy." As a teacher, I believe all students have the capacity within themselves to do great things, and my job is to inspire them with the confidence to take on the really big problems that our patients face.
My goals as a teacher are to instill enthusiasm for learning, to be a role model for lifelong learning and to provide moral support for learners. I aspire to be the "guide on the side", promoting active student engagement in tasks that yield a sense of discovery. I rejoice when a learner asks a question that I cannot answer, for it means that the learner has become curious about something and has formulated a detailed question with which to interrogate "the knowledge cloud."
What inspires me is to watch learning become transformational. Teaching stimulates curiosity in the learner, offers them new perspectives and encourages them to find new paths to knowledge.
My mission as an educator is to work with others and strive for a unified goal: to train the next generation of academic oncologists to become tomorrow’s leaders in medicine. By teaching them how to provide exceptional patient care, perform cutting-edge research and share their knowledge with others, my joy, as stated by Sydney Harris, “ is to turn mirrors into windows.”
Being an educator is a joy and a privilege. Teaching students to communicate science goes far deeper than choosing words and arranging sentences. In helping create the cognitive and affective conditions in which students learn to articulate their ideas and give voice to their passions, I learn as much if not more than they do. Effective, persuasive communicators are critical to the advancement of scientific research and to public understanding of science, and I am fortunate to be able to play a role in training them.
To see the success of those whom I have mentored proves greatly rewarding. To see the achievement attained by the students whom I have taught provides a great source of pride. I will enthusiastically and indefatigably continue to teach and mentor the next generation of biostatisticians and public health researchers.
My perspective on the attributes of an effective educator has evolved over the years. This is based on feedback from learners I have the privilege of teaching, but also my own search, as a lifelong student of medicine, of effective learning and retention strategies. I believe the most avid learners make the most effective teachers. I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and open my horizons to new technology and innovative teaching strategies. I strive to create a learning environment that incites intellectual curiosity, challenges established dogma and triggers aspirations and dreams.
Michelle Obama said, “When you walk through that door of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind you.” I have experienced many educational opportunities. I am holding the door open for all those that I teach; students, faculty, health care providers and patients. They will become tomorrow’s leaders.
I have assumed that whatever makes science interesting to me will also make it come alive to students. Key to this is the context: what was known and accepted as fact at the time of a discovery, and how novel findings often depended on personalities and human relationships. Discovery is not made in a vacuum, and it cannot be separated from the discoverer.
In approaching teaching, I first need to understand my learners’ starting level. Then I want to create the time and space for exposure to new information, while engaging the learners as they process and assimilate their knowledge. My job is to be simultaneously interactive, encouraging, challenging and supportive.
After decades of teaching I believe more than ever in the intrinsic worth and transformative potential of the humanities to help us understand what it means to be human, honor enduring values in a world of rapid technological change and aspire to virtue in our personal and professional lives. As a teacher, I am simultaneously an experienced guide and a fellow seeker who can learn from the thoughtful responses of others. Teaching and studying the humanities is an ongoing endeavor, the work and joy of a lifetime.
I see teaching as opening windows to understanding. Sometimes the windows are in great condition and easily released; other times they are painted shut and only grudgingly unsealed. For teacher alone, it’s a labor of love; for teacher and learner together, it’s pursuit of enlightenment. Either way, the joy in understanding sparkles.
I have been very privileged to be a part of the educating of literally thousands of medical students, our current and future physicians, over the past three decades. I have the privilege of having maintained contact with many former students, now practicing physicians. I feel very honored to have played some part in their becoming the excellent physicians they are today.
My teaching is an extension of the reason I went into medicine: to care for and improve the lives of patients. My goals are to facilitate students and residents I teach to draw upon and expand their base of scientific knowledge and apply it to the care of their patients. My ultimate goal is to make them lifelong learners, so they can recognize gaps in their own knowledge and acquire the new knowledge they need in a way that allows them to provide optimal care to their patients over their entire career.
I have modified Zig Zigler’s famous saying as a foundation for my teaching philosophy. “Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, a grateful heart and education.” It is truly amazing that as we prepare each day to educate our students, the more educated we become.
Establishing successful innovative research and science education programs is my career focus. I believe deeply in the value of equal access to high-quality multi-disciplinary education with as much resource sharing among departments, schools and institutions as possible. Our success is measured by the excellence of our graduates and the impact their careers have on the lives and well-being of others.
One of the great joys of teaching is seeing that moment of understanding in the learner’s eyes as they grasp a new concept. We encourage the learners to provide regular feedback on ways to make our collaborative curriculum better and not easier, so that we can train them to be the best doctors they can be!
In the clinical space, my teaching philosophy is based squarely on problem-based learning, capitalizing on educational opportunities at each facet of the clinical interface with patients. In the didactic setting, my teaching focuses on the acquisition and application of critical appraisal skills for interpreting the literature, invaluable in the cycle of applying the evidence to clinical practice. In both settings, the primary objective is to establish skills and processes that underpin the lifetime of learning that physician trainees face, toward habituation of self-directed learning and maintaining an attitude and an expectation of excellence.
My goal as an educator is to ensure that my students become highly competent through their knowledge base and skills and that they develop compassionate attitudes and dedication to patients as individuals. I strive to instill a love of professionalism and lifelong learning.
In my experience, the most effective teachers are those who possess a profound knowledge of their subject and have the ability to synthesize, organize and present complex information in an engaging and lucid manner. Moreover, such teachers continually strive to demonstrate how to develop and use the knowledge and skills that will be critical to their students’ professional success.
I teach in order to pass on to the next generation a love of learning and a way to ensure that the hard-earned knowledge we have gained through the centuries is not lost. My major teaching goal is to inspire students to embrace lifelong learning, staying up-to-date in their field while recognizing past contributions. I encourage students to explore the world around them and make connections between their work and other parts of their lives by infusing the scientific knowledge in my lectures with historical, cultural and humanitarian components and values.
My goal as a teacher is to facilitate a process that results in my students learning to think critically and use their knowledge to problem-solve. Excellent teachers whom I have known are those who model and embrace lifelong self-reflection and learning. My ultimate purpose is for our graduates to become ethical, competent, reflective practitioners who never doubt their abilities, but never take them for granted either.
It is important for the students to understand there is little need for memorization but a great need for comprehension. With the vast body of knowledge in health care it is impossible to know everything but it is possible to be able to reason, problem solve and know where and how to find the answers to complex clinical questions and situations. After all, education is what you know after you’ve forgotten everything you’ve been taught. It is rewarding to see students apply these principles of practical and ongoing learning.
As a teenager, I realized that a blade of grass contains more complexity and wonder than I could ever understand in my lifetime; that was the birth of my scientific career. The immune response teaches us that active immunity leads to long-term memory and increased affinity, whereas passive immunity has no memory or increase in affinity. Learning is similar and should be an active, exciting, lifelong process. I have been fortunate to take part in promoting active, lifelong learning in both the medical school and graduate school environments.
Teaching is always the high point of my day. The excitement in the bright students' eyes is its own reward.
I believe that to succeed as a physician, one must practice the tenets of professionalism, including respect, empathy, humility, curiosity, sensitivity and cultural awareness. I have learned to adapt my teaching methods to fit the learner. My wife, a bilingual and special education teacher, taught me long ago to “teach from what the student brings to the table.” To see the “aha” moment in the student during a teaching session is truly a joy to experience.
Our role as educators has always been to teach the art and science of medicine. To best serve our patients, we also need to impart knowledge on how to eliminate harm that may reach our patients in this complex health care environment. My passion is teaching health care professionals to fluently embed patient safety and to implement science into their daily practice of medicine to improve health care outcomes.
The sacred human body taught my students volumes that I could not teach in a classroom. The presence of a sick child and their family naturally cloaked me in compassion, a feeling I found difficult to recreate with few bullet points of a PowerPoint presentation. The total surrender of one’s body and life in my hands made me blind to the color of the skin or the faltering English. It is this sacred bondage I strive for with the patient and the family that I want my students to emulate.
I aim to advance learners’ medical knowledge, skills and professional behaviors using the most appropriate learner-centered educational and curriculum design strategies and to reflect on what I do and its outcomes with the aim to improve, to maintain currency in educational theory and practice and to provide exemplary educational leadership. The personal reward and enjoyment I have experienced, and the knowledge that I've made a difference in a student's life is priceless.
I believe that education on any level is a collaborative process enriched by the experiences and contributions of both faculty and students. Faculty should be learners as well as teachers in this process. My goal is to create learning experiences that are interesting, innovative and stimulating such that the student develops an interest in continuing to learn more in a course or a lifetime.
I love what I do, and as an infectious disease physician I believe enthusiasm is contagious. Whenever I teach, whoever the learners may be, I strive to make the encounter fun. By the same token, I hold my trainees to high standards. I believe it is an amazing privilege to be a physician and have patients invite us into their lives. I try to instill that same passion and sense of awe in those I teach.
Teaching is not about communicating facts but is about inspiring curiosity in students that lasts long after the course is over. Students’ active engagement in their learning empowers them to take ownership of their professional development.
Academics who approach their teaching duties as a form of scholarship will think more carefully about the end goals of curricula. In our programs, we aim to produce competent and caring health care professionals and researchers who will act to improve individual and population health and reduce health disparities. To quote a Carnegie Foundation report, we educate students “to contribute to the life of their times.”
Our students are our future peers and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. As faculty we must appreciate that students often have a lot of stress, personal baggage and financial worries and this stress may cause them to be distracted. It is not only our job, but our responsibility and obligation to help them overcome these pressures so they can succeed in their chosen profession.
I firmly believe that teaching is an honorable profession, especially because education is critical for ensuring the overall well-being of our nation. My teaching occurs both inside and outside the classroom. As a teacher, I am privileged to play a role in awakening students’ passion for knowledge, as well as their desire to become agents of change, so that they are prepared to effectively confront some of our nation’s most intractable health problems.
I want my mentees to do better than I do. The three core values that guide my mentorship are innovation, truth-seeking and loyalty. Innovation is necessary for us to truly have a positive impact on humanity. Only by seeking the truth can we develop innovations that help humanity. Loyalty helps to accelerate the learning process and the pace of the work accomplished by the mentees. When these three core values are applied in the context of education, something special happens!
My happiest memories of my 25 years teaching are those in which I am either working with students or residents or interacting with my colleagues in medical education, which means that I have many happy memories! I enjoy looking for ways to explain difficult or complex concepts and the excitement of students when they tell me that they “get it."
For over 100 years the teacher-centric model of surgical education has dominated how we train a surgeon. However, the speed of change in medicine, new knowledge, new technology and new delivery models of care is increasing dramatically. We need to develop new student-centric models of education that can adapt to these changes, provide accountability to those we serve and still maintain the ability to produce compassionate, dedicated and technically skilled surgeons. Developing these new models has been my driving force.