The first edition of this book was published in 1983 as a response to a concern that few resources were available to the medical teacher wishing to gain a perspective on basic educational principles and their application to teaching.
Its success led to revised editions published in 1987 and 1994. We have also been delighted to find the book in use in many countries and there are now several non-English versions.
Over these years the climate for educational reform has improved considerably. Higher education institutions are responding to both internal and external pressures to improve the quality of their courses and the teaching performance of individual staff members. Institutions are encouraging educational innovation, tackling the problem of rewards and promotion for contributions to teaching, supporting staff development activities, and introducing staff appraisal and quality assurance procedures. Thus, the need of individual teachers for practical help in meeting these changing expectations is becoming increasingly evident.
Preparing this fourth edition has presented us with numerous challenges. Clearly much has changed even since 1994. For example the rapid growth in the use of the Internet and other teaching technologies raises many questions.
The pressures on institutions to cut costs and to teach ‘more efficiently’ has intensified a move towards greater accountability. Participation in some form of ‘teach the teachers how to teach’ programme is increasingly becoming mandatory and in some countries may even become an external requirement to be in charge of university courses.
We have, as usual, planned this book so that you can go directly to the topic of immediate interest. However, with this edition we have commenced with an overview of the considerable research that has been forthcoming in the last 20 years on how students learn and the importance of this for the teacher. It puts up front an emphasis on the many actors which influence the effectiveness of our activities as teachers.
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Handbook for Medical Teachers