3 Effective Teaching Strategies for Healthcare Educators

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There are a variety of teaching strategies that educators can use to improve student learning in healthcare. However, it is important to consider selecting appropriate methods that make training and learning more appealing and effective in your classroom. What may have worked yesterday may no longer be effective today.

Though traditional teaching methods such as classroom lectures have their advantages, some critics believe it’s ineffective because it gives students a passive, non-thinking, information-receiving role, through which they are exposed to information but are not given the opportunity to process it.

Regardless if you are new to the profession or a teaching veteran, here are three effective ways you can improve your teaching strategies to ensure students remain motivated and engaged.

1. Employ Questioning Tactics

Questioning tactics help students develop critical thinking, decision making, and problem-solving skills—a key component to active learning. Characteristics of active learning include student involvement through more than just listening. It emphasizes on developing cognitive skills, student engagement in activities such as reading, writing and discussion, and on the exploration of a student’s own attitudes and values, states Nancy Vander Hoek, in a Journal of Education and Human Development article.

For every question posed by the instructor, feedback is possible from the student. Experts say that answering questions may show the instructor that the student remembers the answers to a question or problem, but asking questions show that students are actively learning and that he or she is thinking and assimilating critical information.

2. Adopt Role Playing

Role playing is a dramatization of an unscripted event or scenario and can be used to teach communication in nursing education courses. It is a particularly useful strategy for practicing clinical communication skills and dealing with conflict. Role playing can also be very effective for experiencing cultural principles and awareness because it allows students to become emotionally involved in cross-cultural learning and reflect upon cultural differences, states Maria Kodotchigova from Tomsk State University.

At the beginning of a role playing activity, the activity’s goal should be established and the instructors need to communicate to the students in a situation or context for the interaction that will occur. Then, it is critical for the instructor and students to debrief and discuss the situation and various perspectives of the individual characters. Debriefing allows time to provide constructive feedback to students.

3. Practice Concept Mapping

Concept mapping is a valuable technique that creates visual graphics and illustrations showing the relationship among complex content and ideas into a simpler format. Experts say it enables students to see the connections between ideas that they already have; connect new ideas to their existing knowledge; and organize ideas in a logical structure that allows them to digest new information or viewpoints in an easier way.

In terms of healthcare education, concept mapping is a great strategy for teaching clinical care planning because it allows students to see interrelationships in clinical data and grasp a patient’s total clinical picture, states Jie-hui Xu in a Chinese Nursing Research article.  Mapping procedures also help students fill in missing ideas, clarify current concepts, and improve critical thinking.

The goal for educators is to help students process information clearly and effectively, enabling them to relate new information to existing ideas and experiences. How long have you been in the teaching profession? What practices do you see as important today or will be useful tomorrow? Please share; we’d love to hear from you!

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