Commentary: “I Hope I'll Continue to Grow”: Rubrics and Reflective Writing in Medical Education

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Abstract

One respected tradition in medical education holds that physicians should struggle to maintain sensibility, openness, and compassion in the face of strong contravening tendencies. However, today's medical education is structured around a more recent tradition, which maintains that physicians should struggle to develop emotional detachment as a prerequisite for objectivity. In this model, sensibility and reflective capacity are potentially subversive. Reflective writing is one component of a revisionist approach to medical education that explicitly addresses reflective “habits of the mind” as core competencies and builds on existential concerns voiced by medical students. In response to Wald and colleagues' study, the authors reflect on the role of repeated formative feedback in developing reflective capacity. Formative feedback is as critical in this process as it is in traditional clinical learning. The authors emphasize that well-designed rubrics can assist learners in delineating desired outcomes and teachers in providing appropriate guidance.

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