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A Student Scholar's Perspective
  1. Transcript
  2. Faculty perspective: Supporting non-traditional students
  3. Poster Medical students' perspective towards empathy: current discourse and way forward - APAIE
  4. Original Articles

These issues are also evident in other science education techniques adopted by medical schools, such as flipped classrooms, inquiry, and instructor as facilitator. Medical education, like science education, is inherently a complex endeavor. Making sense of teaching requires one to make use of both general pedagogical knowledge and subject matter knowledge. General pedagogical knowledge focuses on practices such as systematic reflection, classroom organization, classroom management, instructional models, and intentional argumentation and discourse.

Subject matter knowledge is a combination of conceptual knowledge, subject matter structure, content-specific teaching orientations, and contextual influences. These knowledge bases are combined to present content using appropriate pedagogical forms. However, the presentation of information is complicated because of the nature of delivery in medical school. Medical school is broken into two sequential programs.


For the first 2 years, students engage in the academic program, which acts as a crash course on biochemistry and many other science discipline content areas. The next program occurs during the final 2 years of medical school and is typically clinical and hands-on in nature. The split program provides a uniquely complex problem, as much of the vast content learned in the first 2 years is not directly applied until the last 2 years.

This application is expected as the medical students transition into working in hospitals and clinics. Essentially medical students are expected to remember the content from the prior 2 years and simultaneously apply this content during their clinical rotations—or more aptly, to apply theory to practice. Unfortunately, the majority of medical students fail during their first 2 years of school. These failures occur either when a student fails a single-subject exam given at the end of a content module course a course that lasts 2 to 12 weeks and covers a specific subject in medicine, e.

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Compounding this issue is a disparity between the emphasis of particular content taught during the first 2 years and the content of the USMLE. These failures are often catastrophic for the student. Student failure during the first 2 years of medical school has risen nationally in correlation with medical schools deemphasizing the Medical College Admissions Test MCAT. The movement away from emphasizing MCAT scores and undergraduate grade point average as the primary determinates of admission has resulted in a higher number of admissions of underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, and first-generation college students.

Although this movement away from MCAT scores and grade point average as determinants of admission toward a more holistic, whole-person model may be applauded from the perspective of anti-high-stakes testing and representation, the percentage of failures in the first 2 years of medical school has risen in conjunction with this widespread shift. However, this does not necessarily equate to stating that the MCAT should be reinstated as the primary determining factor for medical school acceptance. Advances in Health Sciences Education , 21 1 , 33 — An analysis on 5 years of medical student data.

Faculty perspective: Supporting non-traditional students

Medical Education Online , 21 1 , Article Given the limited predictive power of the MCAT and other factors, such as undergraduate grade point average, there is considerable difficulty in identifying consistent predictors of success in medical school without the input of teacher educators who understand science education. Do subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge constitute the ideal gas law of science teaching? Journal of Science Teacher Education , 3 1 , 16 — In cases of difficulties during the first 2 years of medical school, students can be delayed in coursework, face increased costs associated with their education, and be less able to enter into a residency program.

The difficulty of identifying at-risk students is compounded by seeming inconsistencies in student performance in modules versus outcomes on the Step 1 of the USMLE. Students who experience academic distress during the content modules may still pass Step 1 of the USMLE, and those who do not experience any distress during content modules may still fail. Science teacher educators are uniquely positioned to provide student support through the development of medical school instructors in terms of response-to-intervention models, problem-based learning and inquiry approaches, and other modes of instructional practice that move the student from being a passive receiver of information to an active participant in the construction of knowledge.

The science teacher educator sits at the intersection of both understanding the specific pedagogies needed to teach science related to medicine and maintaining the skills needed to teach others to teach science.

Poster Medical students' perspective towards empathy: current discourse and way forward - APAIE

Compounding the issues of teaching and learning in medicine is the overall competitive culture of medical school. The high-stakes nature of medical schools can unintentionally foster an individualistic, hypercompetitive environment. Incidences of sabotage, including hiding of necessary study materials, destruction of study materials, and manipulation of data, are not uncommon. Along with this is an overall atmosphere that discourages the seeking of outside help from tutors or other resources.

At the same time, nontraditional students, including older students, students of color, and first-generation students, face an uphill battle owing to the fact that they often have not had as much of an opportunity to engage with experts concerning study skills, content, and collegiate experiences. Study skills become a stumbling block because of the demanding nature of content delivery in terms of quantity and quality. The firehose method of delivery benefits those with an already established skill set in terms of studying and memorization and previous experience with scientific content.