Monday, March 29, 2010

Quick Reflection before Bedtime: Finding the Fun

"Practice-Based Learning and Improvement" --wait, huh?

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement--That's what the ACGME (Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education) calls the most confusing of the six "core competencies" that ALL resident doctors must achieve prior to being released to the world as bonified and sho' nuff physicians. There's this whole fancy definition used by the ACGME that, once you break it down, actually isn't as confusing as it sounds. "Practice-based learning and improvement" really means being a life-long learner, reflecting on what happens around you good, bad or indifferent, and (duh!) looking stuff up when you don't know the answer and applying what you learned later. Even still, as soon as somebody attaches these concepts to the term "practice-based learning and improvement" everybody breaks out in a cold sweat, scratches their head and asks, for the thousandth time. . . Practice-based who and what?

Whether we get it or not, it's our job as medical educators to get our learners proficient at being. . .well . . .learners. . . .and not just any old learners, either--they need to be the life-long kind.

Isaiah and his 'brary card

I was pondering this the other day, and thought of a recent trip I took with my kids to the public library. On a rainy day, we splashed in puddles, sang songs, explored the stacks, found books. . . .had fun. Zachary even created his own "I got a 'brary card!" dance as we walked down the street in downtown Decatur to the frozen yogurt shop where we read books and ate fro-yo. What a delight! That's when I was reminded of this simple truth in learning and teaching: Find the fun. The more I think of it, the more I know this to be true. Every lecture, case, rounds, small group or workshop I've ever participated in as a teacher (or learner) that worked. . . was fun. And each one that didn't work, no matter how much preparation was involved, was not.

Learning with a Dr. Seuss Board Game

So. . .how will I try to get my residents and medical students to be "life-long learners?" It's simple. The same way I'll get my kids to be life-long learners. By finding the fun when I'm teaching. . . . and then helping them to find it for themselves when they're learning. No matter how complicated you try to make it sound, or how old you are. . . . the fun is always in there somewhere. . . . .you just have to find it.

Finding the fun for themselves. . . . .

1 comment:

  1. Could my nephews possibly be any cuter??? Love this one! I remember going to the library as a kid & it was SO MUCH FUN! Remember we'd come out with a big ol' stack of TEN hardcover books & read every single one.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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