Medical Teachers' Humanistic Perspective on Pedagogy: A New Starting Point for Faculty Development

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This study investigated the perspectives on pedagogy held by medical teachers in hospitals.


The teachers were interviewed after they had been observed in both clinical and classroom settings.


The study showed the teachers' reliance on the relational aspects of pedagogy more than on technical pedagogical knowledge. Teachers referred to their aims and approaches as “interactive,” but this does not refer to any deliberate pedagogical design or acts. Asking questions was the technique used most commonly but not always skillfully, and they cited influences from the past rather than the present or the future.


This research suggests the pedagogic approach of these medical teachers is “humanistic.” It emphasizes personal and interpersonal factors, meaningful learning, and the affective, as well as cognitive aspects of clinical knowledge. It also captures a commitment to nonthreatening, nonhumiliating environments. Acknowledgment of this particular pedagogical perspective, it is argued, could better connect the health professional teachers with the education and development missions of universities, professional bodies, and governments. The teachers' expressed values and goals offer a new starting point for faculty development. Their reliance on the relational over the technical and on their own biographical experience, could be more respectfully valued and addressed to advance a more productive balance with the technical pedagogical elements that often concern educationalists, researchers, and administrators.

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