It has been perhaps the most influential and significant educational activity that I have engaged in
When, as a full time NHS Consultant surgeon, I was appointed a lecturer at Keele medical school I wanted to further my knowledge of educational techniques or philosophy required in the modern medical school to provide focussed and relevant tutoring to students. The certificate and diploma courses introduced me to the concepts and psychology of learning styles, educational motivation, reflection, small group teaching, evaluation and appraisal. The courses were excellent, practical and enjoyable, and fitted easily into my full time medical occupation. My subsequent individual award for “Learning and Teaching Excellence” from the University I attribute substantially to the knowledge gained during the courses which I was able to put into practice with my students almost immediately.
When I was subsequently appointed as lead tutor for medical humanities I decided to undertake a master's dissertation in the role of medical humanities at Keele University School of Medicine as a way of creating a blueprint for further development.
My supervisors for the dissertation were highly supportive and understanding of my lack of knowledge of the necessary skills needed to produce an academic work on the humanities, so different from the biomedical research papers that I had been used to writing. They responded quickly to e-mails and we met on a regular basis and slowly my original undeveloped drafts became honed to a work which I became proud of. Despite being substantially older than my supervisors I found it very easy to adopt the role of student to my wiser teachers, thanks to their understanding of my initial deficiencies in qualitative research and their logical approach to the task.
I am a man of a certain age who remembers with clarity “the Sixties”. Even when significant illness interrupted my study an extension to the time limit for presentation of the dissertation was easily extended.
The course is expertly and excellently organised with no issues over communication with the course organiser and the secretarial staff
The master's dissertation provided me with authority for my position as lead tutor for medical humanities, and academic credibility for my proposals to further progress such an important discipline. It has been perhaps the most influential and significant educational activity that I have engaged in.