Friday, September 14, 2012

Medical eduacators - no degree required?

Higher education has a this little secret.  Although it is getting better, most of the people responsible for delivering content and designing curriculum don't have a degree in education.  I'm not saying I'm the most learned educator, but I do have a undergrad degree in education.  I frankly fall back on the learning theory and curriculum design background daily as a medical educator.  However, my colleagues around the country don't have that.  I'm not talking about going to a one- or two- day seminar on teaching skills.  I'm talking about a degree from a university or college that states you have completed coursework in education.  I don't see that around these parts much.  And I honestly think medical education (and higher education) suffers for it.

I'm not saying that there are not good teachers in medical schools.  There are wonderful and devoted teachers in every aspect of medical education.  Also, years of teaching does help refine one's skill, and many medical educators have 'learned on the job' and have a decent knowledge base of educational theory.  I'm also not saying that everyone who has an education degree of some ilk is automatically a great teacher.  I'm also not saying that this is at any medical school in particular, but really it's everywhere.

What I am trying to say is that just like I'd rather see a cardiologist for my chest pain than a pediatrician, I'd rather have someone with some training and background in how learning happens and best ways to do education be the person teaching our future physicians.  There, my rant is done, and I feel better.