Homoeopathic Education – Changing trends

Dr Mansoor Ali
Govt. Homeopathic Medical College. Calicut

If you neglect making an effective teaching…the students will be the first sufferer …then your college will suffer from it…then patients…and ultimately homoeopathy also 

A student has to spend 4800 hours in a homeopathic institute.

  • 1 BHMS : 1610 hours
  • II BHMS : 1065 hours
  • III BHMS : 950 hours
  • IV BHMS : 1175 hours

But the quality of homeopathic education is decreasing day by day. Professionally honest educators, who are genuinely interested in teaching, are decreasing day by day. Teachers are more interested in private practice and fabricated seminars which increase their income and popularity rather than regular classroom or clinical teaching. More than 80% death in faculty. The love respect relationship between students and teachers are also at the minimum. There are many factors to blame.

Many teachers think that, he/she is a paid employee and therefore his duty is only to teach in the prescribed period without knowing the pulse of the student. Thus students lose interest in the particular subject that is being taught.

The guidance and counseling does not exist anymore. The students after completing the course are in the dark and unable to decide upon the future. If the teacher takes interest and give some guidance and counseling this problem will be solved. Also those who come out will be better equipped to combat in the fierce fighting field of today’s.

Knowledge is expanding so fast that a teacher, however well informed, cannot clear all the doubts of the students. But students could be guided to the source from which the requisite details are obtainable.

Instead of feeding the students with standardized text book based knowledge, teachers could insist in inquisitive learners, real thirst for self-learning. Teachers should be facilitators for self-learning than dictators of pre- fabricated notes. We have to give something extra or that which is not available in text books.

In every class, teacher is likely to come across a few bright students, who could outsmart the teacher. This should not disturb the teacher’s ego. Rather it should remind him to be a lifelong learner.

Your teaching should be like the miniskirt, large enough to cover the subject but short enough to make it interesting. We have to convey large amount of information within the prescribed time by maintaining the interest of the students.

One of the basic requirements for a good teacher is his ability to retain the interest of the students. Most of us don’t pay much attention to acquiring skills for effective communication with students. Many teachers fail miserably in spite of their superior knowledge in the subject. To ensure greater and more successful interaction with students, it is necessary to acquire skills of communication.

Good working atmosphere: Involvement of all the members requires for success of any institute. Means Principal should lead teachers & students and walk behind them. A regular training by the management experts are essential to the administration. Many of the Principals & Supdts have less ability in dealing with subordinates- that creates so many irresolvable problems and ‘groupisms’  in colleges. A principal must believe in team work through participation.  The way the principal & staff plays as a whole determines the success of college.

Difference in perception
The same thing is often perceived differently by different students _ this may be because of difference in age, socio-cultural circumstances and life experience _ the communication may not serve the intended purpose.

Here lies the importance of feed back. If you skillfully encourage group participation, you would be able to obtain a feed back, so that the gap in the shared information can be identified and doubts removed.

Poor motivation & interest
If the person you are talking to is not interested in what is being said, the message gets lost without making an impact. They may be physically present with you; their mind may not be with you. You must be aware of these aspects. To interest and motivate the receivers to come and listen to you requires tremendous communication skill. So plan your classes in such a way that it is appealing and also generates interest and curiosity.

Look for reactions of students you are communicating with. Watch for their changing expressions, gestures and non verbal clues as these would give you some idea about   how they are reacting. 

Communication is sharing if you share something personal about yourself, it can encourage others to become more open. This will establish a   bond for effective communication & understanding. That is why case presentation is more useful for teaching clinical subjects. If we are teaching practice of medicine, repertory or organon through case presentation, it will be retained for a long time in the memory of students.

Listen to others without criticism or comments; you must listen with an unbiased open mind. Don’t display your authority or knowledge excessively, for then the others tends to get defensive. A good teacher always tries to reduce the defensive behavior in others thus promoting a better communication.

Be sensitive to the reactions of the students towards you and to your style of communication. If you sense their reaction to be negative, then introspect and reflect upon yourself and see where you may be making mistakes.

Viva Voce  : Current oral examination has been a tool to exam thinking power of a student rather than assessing the depth of the knowledge and student feels that this amassment is based on  a chance factor. No measures have evolved so far to improve viva in medical examinations. Its main objective should be test the professional competence of the student. A viva should contains closed questions, open questions, initial questions, probing questions, hypothetical questions, challenge questions, context questions and interactive questions.

Institutional Linkage: National or international programme collaboration with innovative medical institutes. Also inter departmental collaboration with in the college is essential. Network learning encourage active communication & learning among attendees. 

Teachers role in curriculum planning: Even after many revisions by CCH, our syllabus didn’t bring any required out come because of the lack of the teachers or academicians involvement in curriculum planning.. For example : 25 remedies were included in I BHMS of which only two polychrests, rest are rear remedies. How a student can suggest a remedy in 2nd or 3rd year clinical posting without have knowledge about commonly used remedies. Similarly SPM should be taught in 2nd year. So that students may have more clinical exposure than theory in final BHMS.  It is better to have semester based syllabus. English and computer training should be included in the syllabus.

Incentives: Many of the homeopathic medical colleges are giving comparatively less salary to teachers. That result in dissatisfaction among faculty.

Clinical practice:   A teacher without clinical skills or practice will not arouse faith of the students especially if he is teaching clinical subjects. We have to demonstrate it in our IPD & OPD. Always remember that students will not believe in what you say but what you do. Teachers are role models.

Reading: A teacher without in-depth knowledge is not able to maintain the standard of education. Wide and in-depth reading is highly essential for teachers. We must have good libraries with internet facility.  “A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continuous to burn its own flame.. So also a teacher never truly teach unless he is still teaching himself..   Rabindra Nath Tagore.

Organon teachers : It is not possible to teach Organon without in-depth knowledge in that subject. They have to demonstrate the applied organon in OPD & IPD. eg. Concept of miasm,12 observations of Kent, hering’s law of cure etc. Without it, teaching organon is merely a waste of time. Once a student master Organon, it is very easy to practice , but it depends on the teachers who teaches Organon.

We have to teach basic text books like organon, chronic disease, lesser writings of Hahnemann by Dudgeon, materia medica pura etc.  both in UG and PG level. Without these books it is very difficult to get basic idea of homoeopathy and students become confused by different schools of homeopathy or seminar people.

Student centered teaching encourages them to find solutions by themselves with appropriate guidance. Teaching is case centered where the clinical cases help formulate directives for learning. This encourages students to refer to the relevant and related subjects in the syllabus. Integration is achieved through exposition and discussion of these experiences with reference to different related subjects in the curriculum.

Case presentations by students followed by discussions, help them to develop the analytical skill and the capacity of synthesis.

To achieve this, deeper insights into the syllabus helped us to develop a very finely tuned curriculum along with a well trained staff and cooperation of all the departments involved.

The teaching also involves a group discussion method aiming to integrate the teaching and faculty from different departments.

Department of AYUSH under the leader ship of Dr.Eswara Das now doing tremendous efforts to uplift the quality of homeopathic education by ROTP ( Re-orientation training programmes) for teacher at various institute all over India. This programme will cover the teaching of the entire subject at the undergraduate and postgraduate level with special emphasis on methodology of teaching. They are sending the abstract /study materials in advance through e-mail. So the learning will be directly proportional to participants’ preparation before the session and active interaction during the session. This scheme provides sufficient TA,DA and accommodation to participants and resources persons. A really commendable effort.

Teacher training make a teacher more mature, more confident & more effective. We don’t have BEd or MEd like courses. Only a trained teacher is able to raise the standard of education and reduce the failure rate. It is better to have regular teacher training programmes since teaching methodologies are changing and updating yearly. We have very good teachers and very good students but poor teaching skills. Even the best medical curriculum or perfect syllabus would remain dead unless quickened in to life by the right method of teaching.  

LECTURE – A different approach
Lecturing is a traditional and most popular method of communication and is especially useful when information has to be communicated to a large group. The communication in the lecture method is largely one way and is often information oriented.

Since the lecture method is basically a one way communication, you can convey a large amount of information in a short time without any interruptions. You can also decide the sequence of information to be imparted.

The successful use of this method will depend on your competence and skill. If you have access to correct & adequate information, and have rehearsed and timed delivery of the content, you would be successful. Lecturing is very demanding for the new speakers and preparations are a must. Remember it is a skill that can be mastered only through practice. 

Lectures, tutorials and bed side clinics are conducted keeping problem based learning at the centre. Students are encouraged to find the answers themselves through a guided programme.

Organising a Lecture

 Plan your lecture session under 4 heads

  • Introduction
  • Body of the talk
  • Recapitulation
  • Summary

First give a brief introduction, this link the topic of your lecture with the previous knowledge of the receivers.

The content to be talked about form the body of the lecture.

The information to be provided and its logical sequence must be planned well so that you don’t go back and forth.

To make your lecture more effective, you must repeat the main points lectured by you _ this is recapitulation

After recapitulation, you may ask receivers to summaries the Main learning points. This is essential as it reinforces points and also gives you a feedback as to how much the receivers have understood your lecture.

Suggestion to improve lecture method
1. Ask questions in between your lecture to encourage participation. This will stimulate the audience to think and they will be more attentive.

2. Plan your lecture such that there is enough time at the end of the lecture to clarify the doubts of the audience.

3. While imparting information, try to illustrate what you say through examples.

4. Try to introduce quotations and humorous anecdotes in your lecture. It helps to hold the interest of the listeners, there by promoting better bondage and communication. But it should be appropriate to the circumstances.

5. Combine different methods with the lecture to make the communication more participatory. Use methods like demonstrations, case study presentation, audio & video aids etc. in conjunction with the lecture method. This will go a long way in fostering better understanding of the subject under discussion.

6. Examine the true purpose of each lecture and consult with others where appropriate, in planning a lecture.

Role of communication aids
The role of communication aids in education is to make learning real, practical and fun through seeing, hearing, discovering and doing.

Advantages of aids:

  • Communication aids help to reduce the talking verbatim of the communicator.
  • They help to make communication situation interesting.
  • They help to increase the receiver’s participation.

Preparation depends and varies on the type of students. Make your own contribution while using any aids, display the key points only in the slides, the rest you have to explain – otherwise the students may sit like watching a movie- not listening to the speaker or content. The teacher should be the center of attraction and not the screen.

Internship: Currently we have only internship, no internship training. Many Interns and PGs are merely wasting their time even though CCH has designed a good protocol for them.

Evaluation: Long term or short term evaluation/assessment both at the class room level and college level with a good college calendar is essential in all institutes.

Empty your cup.  A full cup cannot accept anything more.  Similarly, a teacher who believes that he had learnt a lot, cannot learn anything else & will stagnate quickly and not move to higher levels. Even the teachers have teachers.

Attitude of teachers determines the altitude of homoeopathy.
A small change in attitude of teachers makes very big difference. So come out from the conventional method of teaching and introduce innovative concepts so that teaching & learning become more interesting. Teachers must have good vision, loyalty and dedication. Only teachers can able to raise the standard of homoeopathy.

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