The educational attributes and responsibilities of a homeopathic teacher

teachers10The educational attributes and responsibilities of a homeopathic teacher 

Dr K R Mansoor Ali
Professor, Govt. Homoeopathic Medical College. Calicut

Simple things lead to perfection – but perfection is not a simple thing. Just read these simple but effective tips to become a good teacher in Homoeopathy.

Acute shortage of dedicated and competent faculty is one of the challenges faced by the homoeopathic institutions in India.

A teacher is
Talented
Enthusiastic
Affectionate
Cooperative
Humble
Encouraging
Reliable

5000 hours of lecture
As per the CCH syllabus, a student has to spend 4500 hours inside the classroom during his BHMS course. Utilised it effectively? My dear teachers, please introspect. 

If you neglect making a an effective teaching…the students will be the first sufferer …then your college will suffer from it…then patients…and ultimately homoeopathy also…that is what happened in some states in India.

A good homeopathy teacher should be a good practitioner. The quality of teaching is directly linked with quality of patient care. The majority of the teachers has no faith in Homoeopathy. Results in an outcome that had happened in Maharashtra – hunger strike for permission to practice allopathy.

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 homeopathy in our IPD & OPD. Always remember that students will not believe in what you say but what you do. Teachers are role models.

Unless you believe/experience the result in what you are teaching, you are not able to convince your students.

A teacher should stop teaching if he feels boredom in teaching or seems to be a mere repetition. Because that is the most terrible thing in homeopathic education.

Job of a homeopathy teacher does not stop with the just delivery of knowledge or assessment of exams – but to engage in a profession that equal to business management.

10+2 students taught by PG teacher who had training in B.Ed. or MEd institutes with NET or SET. But in homoeopathy we have no such courses – but short term courses conducted by AYUSH and some universities. All homoeopathy teachers must utilise these opportunities – since effective homeopathy teaching in not an easy task.

The quality of homeopathic education is decreasing day by day. Professionally honest educators, who are genuinely interested in teaching, are decreasing day by day. Some teachers are more interested in private practice and fabricated seminars which increase their income and popularity rather than regular classroom or clinical teaching.

The teacher thinks that, he 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.

TeachersThe guidance and counselling 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 counselling this problem will be solved. Also those who come out will be better equipped to combat in the fierce fighting field of todays.

It is the desire of every student that, their teacher will give them some meaningful learning experience – that will help them to fight challenges in the life.

The life of a student of homoeopathy and future of homeopathy are in the hands of teachers. They can either make or can break it.  He is a person who is knowledgeable and guides you and instils in your faith and belief to make you successful in the field you have chosen. A good teacher always encourages not only by words but by deeds.

One of our greatest teacher in homeopathy Dr.Kent was a great teacher. His life was a constant source of inspiration to his students all over the world. Even after his death ho continues to inspire his students through his work. Such was the labour behind this work. He gave himself relentlessly to his patients, students and to homeopathy without caring for himself.

Becoming an excellent teacher in a professional college is a continuing,lifelong professional challenge, the dimension of which often goes unrecognised.

Salary and wages
There is a need to allow teaching staff more allowances, freedom to avail attractive packages like housing, if higher salaries are not possible. Many of the homeopathic medical colleges are giving comparatively less salary to teachers. That result in dissatisfaction among faculty.

“Homoeopathy Medical colleges are constructed with the main intention to make money  and multiply the investment of charitable public trusts” as said by Dr Farok J Master

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 audience. Many teachers fail miserably in spite of their superior knowledge in the subject. To ensure greater and more successful interaction with audience, it is necessary to acquire skills of communication.

Body language 
While verbally communicating with people, we should be very careful with our non-verbal communication as well, such as gestures, facial expression, tone etc., so that the credibility of our spoken words get enhanced. Mannerism should be controlled and avoided as far as possible.

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. 

Reading: A teacher without in-depth knowledge in homeopathy is not able to maintain the standard of education. Wide and in-depth reading is highly essential for teachers.

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.

Teachers are readers:
Reading comes only when you have extraordinary desire to assimilate knowledge. There is a great difference between the eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read.

Organon teachers
It is not possible to teach Organon of medicine without a deep understanding  in that subject. We have to demonstrate the applied organon in OPD & IPD. For example Concept of miasmatic prescription,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.

teacher7Students and Homeopathy Seminars
We have to teach basic text books like organon, chronic disease, lesser writings of Hahnemann, materia medica pura etc.  both in UG and PG level. Without these books it is very difficult to get basic idea in homoeopathy and ultimately students become confused by different schools of homeopathy, occult practices or seminar people.

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. 

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. 

Poor motivation & interest among student
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.

Plan your classes in such a way that it is appealing and also generates interest and curiosity.

“Your talk should be like the miniskirt, large enough to cover the subject but short enough to make it interesting” – V.K.S.Menon

Suggestion for being an effective communicator 

  1. The language and vocabulary you use should be familiar to the person you are talking with.
  2. Using simple language is the best method.
  3. Speak loudly as everyone can hear properly.
  4. Speak at a moderate pace – neither too fast, nor too slow.
  5. Your pronunciation should be such that it is understood and accepted by the listeners.
  6. Your expression and gestures should match your words. Your reaction and expressions are a more truthful indication of your feelings than the spoken words.
  7. Look for reactions of persons 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 behaviour in others thus promoting a better communication.

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.

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 – one note for the life time!

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

Our ability to communicate is based on our understanding of the subject.

Doesn’t allow lapses where nothing happens or when participants are wasting time. Use a variety of ways to clarify a point

When a child is crying – mother repeat the song in a monotonous way –  child sleeps. Like this a monotonous lecture leads audience to sleep.

LECTURE – A good 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.

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.

Organising a Lecture 
To organize a lecture you must follow the following 3 steps
Step.1  Acquire necessary knowledge or information on the topic
Step .2_ Plan your lecture session under 4 heads
Introduction
Body of the talk
Recapitulation
Summary
Step.3  Acquire necessary aids like posters, slides, LCDs to strengthen and support the spoken words.

speachFirst 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 can ask receivers to summarise the main learning points.

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.

No technology can replace the creativity of human beings – but technology helps us to excel . Technological advancement in medical education may necessitate transformation in teaching community, but not the replacement.

Even the students find this LCD based teaching moe comfortable as it contains minimum points with less explanation, so easy to digest.

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. 

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

Make the students comfortable and interested in the subject by your method of teaching – but no single method to all students in a class room. The 50 students have 50 character and 50 identities. 

Teachers must have enthusiasm

  • to teach
  • to students
  • to homeopathy 

If Hahnemann is still alive now – we can get 100 editions of Organon of medicine, but we homoeopaths still sticking on 6th edition of Organon.

Viva Voce & Practical examinations
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 assessment is based on  a chance factor. 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.

We have to move from knowledge dominated examinations to more skill oriented clinical examinations.
We need to consider to change in our question papers.We are still relying upon recall type of assessment system that does not evaluate creativity, clinical competence,or actual diagnostic skills etc

External examiners  are also very busy, they wants to finish the exams at the earliest – in order to get enough time to visit neighbouring temples or tourist destinations.

Once a slide is prepared; it is for the life time
That should not be the attitude of teachers.

Even though we are taking classes on a prescribed syllabus, it must have some modifications and advancement in every year – including the mannerisms and humour.

Majority of the teachers used to teach the same topic, with same notes/slides, throughout  their service. Suppose a Materia Medica teacher had selected 25-30 drugs at the time of appointment, he/she has been teaching the same drugs till retirement. A repertory teacher who had selected Kent’s repertory, teaching the same throughout his service – doesn’t know anything about other repertories. This is true in the case of other subjects also. We have to exchange the topic/subjects at least once in 2- 3 years among the faculties of the same department.

We had a Practice of Medicine teacher – he used to  give the same set of symptoms and wit(humour) in every class. Senior students conveyed this message to juniors. “Sir will tell this wit after 6th symptom of typhoid and that wit after 10th symptom”. Juniors laughed at his class – not because of his wit, but the exactness of senior’s message. 

Before starting the presentation:-

  1. Check all the aids to be used, arrange prepared aids ensuring good visibility.
  2. Rehearse the presentation including the narration at your bedroom in front of a mirror.
  3. Adjusting the speed of delivery depending on the rate of audience understanding.
  4. Care in dress code- it should be presentable & neat.
  5. Keep smiling as and when needed and maintain an eye contact with audience.
  6. Avoid unwanted repetition.
  7. Keep the narration simple, to the point and brief.
  8. Summaries the message using visual sequence. 

Time limit
Limit your lecture for a specified period – The average attention span of an adult is 20 minutes. Most lectures will be of 60 minutes, some even going on for 120 minutes or more. This is not at all advisable. 

If more speakers
When there are many speakers in a seminar/workshop, our presentation should be

  1. Time bound
  2. Stick to topic
  3. Avoid overlapping with other speakers – interact with them during preparation
  4. Avoid considering only senior most- even though they are not always better than youngsters
  5. Avoid too lengthy case presentations – nowadays some speakers spent whole day with one case
  6. Organisers should give specific direction to all speakers including the topic of other speakers.

“If you wish to convey something during your speech, you must be the first or second speaker. Otherwise what your matters will be spoken by others and you will be left high and dry.

If you have nothing particular to convey, be the last speaker before lunch or the first speaker after lunch.

In the former, you can say that you would not like to stand between the audience and a sumptuous lunch, and people will appreciate you. In the latter neither you nor the audience will miss anything, as both will be sound asleep after a delicious meal.” – humorist Sanjaya.

classTry to start your classes on time.
Teachers must reach their class room on time. Punctuality reflects the discipline and proper regard for others. Without it even the most sophisticated person appears slightly offensive. Teachers are role models.

“For whose arrival a student wait is called as a good teacher and whose departure the student wait is called as a bad one” – Dr Srinivasulu Gadugu

My dear teachers please make the class rooms alive with your lectures with content, clarity, curiosity and a bit of humor. Let us transform the class rooms into an animated learning atmosphere rather than dictation rooms.

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 in homoeopathy.

Teachers must have good vision, loyalty and dedication. Only teachers can able to raise the standard of homoeopathy.

Random Thoughts

  • The role of teachers is no longer limited to teaching, they also have to ensure that students enjoy the classes and are comfortable enough to explore a subject and ask questions without hesitation.
  • Develop unique skill and abilities that make your teaching special and make students mind as productive laboratories.
  • Introducing students to new topics and giving an overview of important points is also an important role played by teachers.
  • The teachers have to be both motivated and knowledgeable. You cannot get motivation without paying them adequate salary. Absence of a strong personal mission and the lack of seriousness can uproot the real purpose of teaching.
  • Homoeopathic teachers should resurrect from their gloomy, un impressive, un productive way of teaching, sharpen and modify their teaching methods to make teaching more dynamic, interesting and meaningful – that leave behind good memories the minds of students.
  • Every teacher can achieve greatness by sheer commitment, self-discipline and hard work. But we have to think frequently about the changes needed in teaching strategies.
  • At the end of each class teachers should try to leave a pinch of suspense or curiosity that will sustain an interest to know more.
  • At the beginning of the class, inform that you will be asking some questions – that stimulate and make them more attentive.
  • It is very essential for teachers to have self-control and proper mental balance to exercise their responsibilities in an expected manner.
  • Systemically organise your teaching activities and find out more possible methods to make teaching more challenging and interesting.
  • Dr William Glasser –“Our curriculum is worthless if we cannot convince students that they are learning useful skills”.
  • Dwight D Eisenhower – “Good teachers don’t  just happen, they are the product of highest personal motivation”.
  • Try to know more about each topic than the of text books, so that you and students always feel that there is something more and new to be studied.
  • Every student has a fascination for his/her name. Spend some times with them on personal talk and call by their name – establish a trusting, encouraging and caring relationship.
  • Do not pass out personal comments about other teachers before the students.
  • Show genuine interest in all the activities and programmes organised by /for the students. 

Read also:
How to prepare effective PowerPoint presentations

Related article
Books and Journals on effective Medical Teaching &Training
http://www.homeobook.com/books-and-journals-on-effective-medical-teaching-training/

References
Essentials in medical education – Teachers training – Dr GN Prabhakara
Effective teaching – a measure of excellence – Dr Mathew Thomas
Toolkit for Academic Leaders Version 1 – February 2008 Compiled by Ray Wells, PhD
Education in India – Padma Ramachandran, Vasanthakumar
How to become a successful orator – Dr Milind V Bhatkar
Excellent presentation – Jayant Neogy

1 Comment

  1. director health services a lady in britain wrote to their primeminister homeopathy is nuisance drains finances close all colleges,royal family said it is not placabo because of the eminence of dr blackie follower of ML Tyler,homeopathy survived.homeopathy is medicine science for high IQ doctors.

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