sexta-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2014

Meaningful Learning

Three Strategies for Creating Meaningful Learning Experiences

By Steven A. Meyers, PhD

Do you ever wonder whether your students care about your course material? Do you question whether your students appreciate how the information you address in class is relevant to them? Do you feel like there is often a mismatch between your intentions for your class and what your students actually want to learn?

Students are more likely to pay attention and be excited about your course when they view the class as relevant to themselves and connected to their interests. Professors often find this goal to be elusive when they use a top-down approach to teaching that primarily starts (and ends) with their knowledge of the field and their own beliefs about what students need to know. Instructors can instead maximize student interest and excitement by using a bottom-up approach that involves assessing students' needs, tailoring the course experience, and using teaching techniques that purposefully heighten students' engagement.


Strategy 1: Assess early, assess often.
Many successful public speakers know that they need to tailor their message to resonate with their audience. Similarly, think about how marketers carefully research their audiences to learn more about the needs of consumers to better position their products. This process raises a series of related questions for college faculty: How well do we know what our students already know, what their interests are, what they want to learn, and what lessons they walk away with from our teaching?

The best way to learn the answers to these questions is to ask them often. Instructors who use the "K-W-L technique" ask their students to list what they know, what they want to know, and what they learned each class (Ogle, 1986). These data are exceptionally helpful in adjusting the content of lessons to ensure that you meet the needs of the greatest number of students. Other classroom assessment techniques that are easy to use include asking students how the material related to them or their interests, inquiring about what remains confusing, or allowing students to provide feedback to the instructor via clickers (see Angelo & Cross, 1993 for more examples). These methods complement the helpfulness of frequent quizzes and written assignments that regularly monitor students' performance.

Strategy 2: Let students get their feet wet.

Do your students have the opportunity to do what professionals in your field actually do? One reason why college can seem irrelevant to students is that the classroom environment is often far removed from the exciting tasks involved in the discipline. Some fields, especially the laboratory sciences, do have students perform actual tasks. However, faculty who teach in other departments may need to be more creative.

There are two very effective teaching strategies that make material come alive for students by placing them in the first-person role. Problem-based learning presents students with cases and follow-up questions to guide analysis. Students can work individually, or more commonly in small groups. Choose cases that connect to real-world problems so that students grapple with issues that they would likely encounter in the field or profession. Service-learning is another powerful way for students to appreciate the relevance of your material. In service-learning, students volunteer in the community at sites that relate to the class (e.g., social service agencies for psychology classes, adult literacy programs for English classes, not-for-profit corporations for business courses), and then make connections between their field work and coursework through reflection assignments.
Strategy 3: Welcome student input for your content and assignments.
When professors consider what ignites students' interests, or connects with their personal and professional goals, they are able to better design courses that meet students' needs. This tailoring process is deeper than an add-on approach, like incorporating social media or references to popular culture. Rather, this notion involves a partnership with students and sharing a certain amount of control over decision-making.

In more concrete terms, professors increase the relevance of material by providing students with real choices about what they will learn and how they will demonstrate mastery. Professors who use differentiated instruction (cf., Gregory & Chapman, 2002) give students different options during class time (e.g., students form flexible groups that have complementary tasks centering around the topic of the lesson). Similarly, students have the opportunity to select from a range of options for evaluation (e.g., research paper, oral presentation, applied project, traditional exam). This approach builds on students' strengths and interests.

Importantly, these three strategies interlock to create a maximally relevant approach to teaching and learning. Careful and frequent assessments will allow you to learn who your students are, what they have mastered, and what are the areas of greatest interest. These data will guide your selection of topics that you can emphasize in the class. When you remain open to your students' input, you will increase their ownership and investment in the material. Ensuring that your students have an active role during class time and beyond closes the loop for making your course a personalized and meaningful experience.

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gregory, G. H., & Chapman, C. (2002). Differentiated instructional strategies: One size doesn't fit all. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Ogle, D. M. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. The Reading Teacher, 39(6), 564-570.

Dr. Steven A. Meyers is a professor and the associate chair of psychology at Roosevelt University.

quinta-feira, 27 de fevereiro de 2014

Medicine By Subscription

Pay doctors like you do Netflix. The rise of doctor by subscription

Five years ago, Dr. Ivan Castro of Winter Park was miserable with the way medicine was going.

"I was constantly running behind to see the next patient and had to focus more on paperwork than on patient care," recalls Castro, 52.

That year, Castro changed his practice to the concierge model: Patients pay a retainer fee to their primary doctor -- usually $100 to $200 a month -- in exchange for round-the-clock access, quick appointments and more attention.

Now "I really feel like a doctor and that I'm making a difference," said Castro, who went from having more than 3,000 patients with whom he spent about 10 minutes per appointment to 400 patients where he averages 30 minutes for each appointment.

Castro is one of a growing number of primary-care doctors changing the way they practice.

According to a 2012 survey of U.S. physicians by Merritt Hawkins, a national physician-recruitment company, almost 7 percent of doctors are considering the switch. The trend is especially strong in Florida, where nine out of 10 doctors are considering moving into concierge medicine.

Larry Stern, a retired attorney in West Palm Beach, switched to a concierge doctor three years ago.

"I get phenomenal care. And I'm a demanding, high-need patient," said Stern, 62. "I really feel I have a 'Marcus Welby' doctor. I'm not left alone. I have controlled high blood pressure and diabetes. I have stuff that's wrong with me, and I know I won't get dropped through the system."

Stern pays $1,675 a year so he and his 22-year-old daughter can be part of the program.

Most patients who use concierge medicine also carry some insurance to cover outside testing, fees to other consultants and hospitalization if necessary. Employees who have health savings accounts or flexible-spending plans can use those pretax dollars to pay the retainer fee.

Though good for the patients who can afford it, some predict the trend will exacerbate America's growing physician shortage. Already the nation has more patients who need doctors than primary doctors who can see them.

"A typical practitioner sees 3,000 to 4,000 patients a year," said Phil Miller, spokesman for Merritt Hawkins.

When a physician moves into a concierge practice, he or she may drop 2,500 patients.

"Where do they go?" he asks.

But doctors are already feeling the squeeze, and the pressure is driving many of them to make a change.

Michael Tetreault, editor of Concierge Medicine Today, estimates that six years ago, about 2,000 concierge-medicine doctors were practicing in the country. Today he puts the number at 5,500 and thinks that number will grow as much as 15 percent in the next few years.

"They want to provide quality care and feel they can't when they're on a treadmill," Miller said. "They'd rather give good care to few than inferior care to many."

A busy primary-care doctor with a full schedule can't allow more than 10 minutes per patient and usually closer to seven minutes. Concierge doctors can afford to spend 30 minutes or more.

"For the patient who can access a concierge doctor, the quality of care will be better," Miller said. "They will get more face time."

David Dycus of Orlando's Baldwin Park signed up for concierge medicine with Castro about four years ago because he'd had several stints in the hospital, and "I didn't have a quarterback. There was no one person to talk to about my health. Most regular doctors don't make rounds anymore."

Now he estimates he sees the doctor nine or 10 times a year, mostly for minor problems. "If I have a question, I have his personal-cellphone number. I've called at midnight on a Saturday, and he's responded."

Doctors who practice concierge medicine say it isn't about the money. Castro, whose patients pay $2,500 a year, said his income, after startup costs, has stayed about level.

That's consistent with what salary studies show. A 2012 Medscape report found that the average salary for a primary-care physician ranged from $156,000 to $315,000. Separate salary studies show a similar range for concierge doctors.

The model also lets doctors use technology more.

"Someone sends me a picture of their rash, or they text me questions, and I answer," Castro said. In a traditional practice, doctors don't get reimbursed for that time.

Consumers considering the option need to be clear about what they will get in return, said Dr. Reid Blackwelder, president of the American Association of Family Practitioners.

Not all doctors include hospital visits in their fee. Others won't help patients with insurance coverage for outside services and leave that up to the patient.

As to what the trend is doing to the physician shortage, Castro shrugs and says, "I don't have the answer to that. I can only control my own microcosm."

terça-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2014

Teaching Career

The emotions that fuel our teaching

I’ve been delving a bit into the emotional aspects of teaching. They continue to be largely ignored in the research literature and in our discussions of teaching. Could that be because emotional things fit uncomfortably in the objective, rational, intellect-driven culture of the academy? We teach in an environment where content continues to dominate the thinking of so many faculty that there’s little room left for consideration of the emotional. Nonetheless, I remain convinced that you cannot power a teaching career on intellect alone. Emotions are an ever-present part of teaching.

Are the emotions associated with teaching most strongly felt by new teachers? The March issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter highlights a fascinating study of sociology graduate students teaching for the first time. They wrote a 10-page reflective paper on their experiences, which the researchers analyzed. “The sheer emotionality of first-time teaching is one of the most striking aspects of our data.” (p. 20) A systematic review of the papers revealed 250 different emotional terms used to describe those first classroom experiences.

Emotions are usually thought of as being either negative or positive. In the study, more negative than positive emotions were named, but the new teachers described positive and negative feelings equally often. The negative emotions written about in their papers were ones we’ve all experienced—fear, nervousness, worry, frustrations, anxiety, concern, stress, and feelings of difficulty. Commonly mentioned positive emotions included enjoyment, comfort, confidence, excitement, reward, fun, and feelings of anticipation.

What may be felt more keenly early in a teaching career are the highs and lows—when a day goes well, there’s euphoria, when that first test is returned, despair. Although teaching may be less of a rollercoaster ride as a career progresses, it is rarely a flat road. Even seasoned veterans often experience feelings of anxiety and nervousness on the first day of class.

We don’t really need research to support the common sense observation that emotions affect behavior, but how does that work in the classroom? How do our feelings about the content, students, and our department affect our instructional decision-making? My first pass through literature yielded another study with findings relevant here. Keith Trigwell, who’s done some really excellent work on approaches to teaching, had 175 Australian faculty respond to two questionnaires. The first identified those approaches teacher favored—those that develop conceptual understanding and are more student-centered, or those that transmit knowledge and are more teacher-centered. The second survey was a 20-item Emotions in Teaching Inventory. He used a variety of statistical methods to compare individual answers on both surveys.

“The teachers who describe higher levels of emotions such as pride and motivation and lower frustration are teachers who describe their teaching in terms of a focus more on what the student is doing and experiencing.” (p. 617) When anxiety or nervousness is experienced at relative higher levels, teachers are more likely to report adopting approaches that focus on transmitting knowledge. If embarrassment is a highly rated emotion, then teachers describe using more teacher-focused methods.

His overarching conclusion suggests that “there are systematic relations between the ways teachers emotionally experience the context of teaching and the ways they approach their teaching.” (p. 617) Most of us aren’t going to think that’s an unexpected finding, but it doesn’t answer the chicken-egg question. Do the approaches cause these emotional responses or do we start with the emotions, which then move us in the direction of certain instructional methods?

I’m still looking for work that examines the emotional trajectory across teaching careers—that larger emotional landscape beyond the daily frustrations with students who don’t listen, don’t come prepared, and expect special dispensations; beyond those joyful moments when our efforts with a student pay off or a quiet compliment comes from an unexpected source. What about the continuing emotional energy good teaching demands? What fuels that need, and what happens when we’re out of emotional fuel? How long can you teach on empty?

Meanwell, E., and Kleiner, S. (2014). The emotional experience of first-time teaching: reflections from graduate instructors, 1997-2006. Teaching Sociology, 42 (1), 17-27.
Trigwell, K. (2012). Relations between teachers’ emotions in teaching and their approaches to teaching in higher education. Instructional Science, 40, 607-621.

The Emotions That Fuel Our Teaching

quinta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2014

Metodologias ativas de Ensino-Aprendizagem

INESCO promove Fórum Nacional de Metodologias Ativas

INESCO is organizing National Forum "Active Learning in Health Professions Education"


8 a 10 de maio de 2014
Curitiba – Paraná - Salão de Atos do Parque Barigui – Centro de Educação Permanente da Prefeitura Municipal de Curitiba

O objetivo do Fórum é apoiar as mudanças na formação dos profissionais de saúde. O emprego de metodologias ativas de ensino-aprendizagem é uma recomendação expressa nas Diretrizes Curriculares Nacionais das 14 carreiras da saúde. A sistematização de experiências visa fortalecer o movimento em cada curso, em cada instituição e na formulação de políticas públicas de saúde e de educação. Coerente com esse objetivo, o cartaz do VII Fórum tem no seu fundo uma trama de linha que dá a ideia da tecelagem, da composição, a partir de pessoas diferentes, instituições distintas, trabalhando para um mesmo objetivo. Também as fitas coloridas representam a diversidade, formando um conjunto em torno de um objetivo comum. 

Professores, dirigentes, estudantes de graduação e de pós-graduação da área da saúde
Professores, alunos e pesquisadores dos projetos de ensino na saúde (MS&CAPES)
Profissionais e dirigentes de serviços de saúde com atuação em atividades de formação em saúde.
Líderes comunitários com participação em projetos ou processos de mudança na formação em saúde
Atores das carreiras da saúde, a saber: medicina, enfermagem, odontologia, farmácia, fisioterapia, biomedicina, psicologia, serviço social, nutrição, medicina veterinária, fonoaudiologia, terapia ocupacional,  ciências biológicas e educação física.