International Guidelines for Homeopathy Education

classAn ECCH & ICH document
This  third  edition  of  the  Guidelines  for  Homeopathy Education has been renamed the „International Guidelines for Homeopathy Education‟. We would like to  acknowledge  the  thorough  consultation  process  which  took  place,  involving  a  wide  cross-section  of  the  homeopathy  profession,  including individuals  with  expertise  in  the  area  of  homeopathy  education  in  23  countries  in  Africa,  America, Europe and Oceania.

These  guidelines  outline  a  framework  for  the  education  and  training  of  a  competent,  autonomous homeopath. The homeopath should ideally be competent to work in a variety of roles, ranging from an independent  consultant  in  private  practice  through  to  being  an  integrated  member  of  a  team  of healthcare  practitioners  working  in  a  clinical  setting.  Practitioners  from other  health  care  disciplines studying  homeopathy  are  expected  to  complete  the  full  homeopathy  content  of  these  guidelines, including the clinical requirements, in order to become competent homeopaths.

We  invite  course  providers,  professional  associations  and  individuals  to  assess  the  practical application  of  these  Guidelines.  All  feedback  is  welcome,  and  will  help  us  to  make  appropriate amendments  for  future  editions.  Readers  and  users  are  invited  to  send  their  thoughts  to  the International Council for Homeopathy (ICH).

The purpose of these Guidelines
This document is to be  understood as a set  of Guidelines, and not as criteria or  a set  of mandatory regulations.  Individual  national  and  regional  situations  may  be  influenced  by  legislation,  regulation, national  occupational  standards,  codes  of  ethics  and  other  factors.  The  different  areas  of  these Guidelines  may  therefore  be  more  or  less  relevant  to  national  guidelines,  accreditation  processes, curricula,  syllabi  or  other  documents  and  regulations  which  affect  the  education  and  training  of homeopaths.

These  Guidelines  identify  objectives  and  basic  curriculum  areas  in  homeopathy education  andtraining, and may

  • serve as a guide for the establishment of national or regional education guidelines
  • facilitate the planning, implementation and evaluation of a course
  • identify the relative importance of key topics
  • serve as a guide for selection of learning opportunities and teaching approaches
  • guide the development of effective, valid and reliable modes of assessment

The Guidelines may also play a major role in implementing an accreditation process for colleges and teaching institutions  at  a  national  or regional  level.  Please  refer to  regional  accreditation  documents, such as the European Guidelines for Accreditation of Courses of Education in Homeopathy (2002), or national  accreditation  documents,  such  as  the AROH Accreditation  and Audit  Guidelines  for  Course Providers of Advanced Diploma of Homoeopathy (HLT 60607) (2009).

E-learning is  mostly  associated  with  activities  involving  the  simultaneous  use  of  computers  and interactive networks. The computer does not need to be the central element of the activity or provide learning content. However, the computer and the network must be significantly involved in the learning activity. E-learning has been defined as a “pedagogy empowered by digital technology”. In the United States e-learning is defined as a planned teaching/learning experience which uses a wide spectrum of mainly  internet  or  computer-based  technologies  to  reach  learners.  In  most  universities,  e-learning  is now used to define a specific method in which a course or study program is delivered. Students study online and therefore rarely, if ever, attend for on-campus access to face-to-face educational facilities.

Web-based learning is associated with learning materials delivered in a web browser, including when the materials are packaged on a CD-ROM or other media.

Online  learning is  associated  with  content readily  accessible from  a  computer. The  content  may  be on the Web, the Internet, the computer‟s hard drive, or simply installed on a CD-ROM. The concept of online  learning  surfaced  before  the  development  of  the  Web,  and  before  learning  materials  were delivered over the Internet or networks, so network use is not necessarily required.

Distance  learning involves  interaction  at  a  distance  between  teacher  and  student,  and  enables  the teacher  to  react  and  respond  to  the  needs  of  the  student.  Simply  posting  or  broadcasting  learning materials to students is not distance learning. Instructors must be involved in receiving feedback from learners (Keegan 1986, Garrison & Shale 1987).

Distance  learning  is  a concept  older  than  most of  the  others  discussed here. It  does  not  necessarily require the use of computers or networks. It involves interaction between class members primarily at a distance,  and  enables  the  teacher  to  interact  with  students.  Distance  learning  is  typically  associated with  televised  broadcasts  and  correspondence  courses,  but  it  also  applies  to  certain  E-learning applications.

The  primary  characteristic  of  the  learning  activity  differentiates  between  each  of  the  following concepts:  web-based  learning,  online  learning  and  distance  learning.  Intensive  use  of  the  defining feature is required. Incidental or occasional use of a characteristic feature is not sufficient to qualify for a certain type of learning. Ideally concepts and methods are merged to facilitate broader learning and accommodate ethical concerns.

Teaching and learning approaches
The  following  overview  contains  a  number  of  suggestions  for  teaching  and  learning  approaches (TLAs) that may be used as part of a homeopathy course. TLAs are used to help students learn what we want them to learn (Ramsden 2003). This overview is by no means exhaustive, and other effective teaching approaches may be applied.

General recommendations:

  • Raise students interest and expectations
  • Ensure variety
  • Motivate students
  • Build on students‟ current knowledge and experience, develop what they already know
  • Ensure good communication, explain when necessary
  • Encourage students to pose questions, make requests and comments
  • Provide opportunities for each individual student to be heard
  • Encourage mutual respect and positive attitudes towards and between students, between
  • students and staff, and a wish to learn together
  • Show interest in students‟ point of view, actively listen and comment in a non-judgmental,positive and constructive way, focusing on what is useful

To  help  students  to  recognise  the  knowledge  they  already  have  and  to  encourage  them  to  learn something new, the difficulty of the subject being taught should be set „one level above‟ the students‟ current level of knowledge (Krashen 1981, Vygotsky 1978, Øzerk 2006). It is advisable to begin with simpler tasks and move gradually towards more challenging tasks. This is in line with Bruner‟s (1960) principle  of  a  ‘spiral  curriculum’.  Such  a  curriculum  revisits  basic  ideas  repeatedly,  but  at  increasing levels of complexity and/or difficulty.

Raising expectations
By  setting  high  standards  and making  it clear that  students  are  expected  to  achieve  high  standards, course  providers  and teachers help to stimulate students‟ self-esteem  and  self-confidence.  This approach  can  also  help  to  encourage  students  to  consider  course  aims/objectives  as  inspiring challenges  rather than  insurmountable tasks.  It may  be  helpful to  set  learning  aims/objectives  within time frames, which provide structure, and help students to stay on track and retain focus. Time frames should be flexible, and adjusted to meet students‟ individual needs.

Raising interest and explain
Teachers  should  provide  students  with  clear  explanations  to  facilitate  their  understanding  and  raise interest. Ideally, material should be presented with enthusiasm „face to face‟, and in an interesting manner  (Ramsden  2003).  It  is  much  harder  to  raise  interest  or  enthusiasm  through  written  material alone.  When  appropriate,  examples  should  be  provided  to  illustrate  theory  (Felder  and  Silverman 1988). Students should be presented with clear, adequate teaching notes and other relevant resource material, which should have meaning to students „real life‟ problems whenever possible (Ramsden 2003). Enhanced learning can be facilitated by raising students‟ awareness of the possible range of learning models and activities (Felder and Silverman 1988).

Ensuring variety
As individual students learn best in differing ways, teaching and learning approaches should be varied. Students‟ attention span varies and can be poor during lectures (Brown and Race 2002, McKeachie 1994). Research suggests attention decreases from ten minutes into lectures and students only recall International Guidelines for Homeopathy Education 2011  41 significant knowledge from the first parts (McKeachie 1994). Mismatch between learning and teaching styles may result in boredom, inattentiveness, poor test results, discouragement and even drop-out. It is  recommended  that  course  providers  and  teachers  endeavor  to  match  teaching  approaches  to individual students‟ learning styles whenever possible (Felder and Silverman 1988).

Learning may be achieved by using different sensory channels (Dunn 2000):

  • Verbal/visual presentations (varied colors/volume levels, variety of technology/media)
  • Individual reflection
  • Discussions
  • Allow students to present materials to suit their learning styles
  • Carry out tasks that are as closely matched to real-world situations as possible
  • Use both inductive and deductive approaches in teaching
  • Balance concrete information with abstract concepts (Felder and Silverman 1988)
  • Balance  the  focus  on  fundamental  understanding  with  problem-solving  methods  (Felderand Silverman 1988)
  • Focus on intuitive and sensing patterns (e.g. recognising patterns through linking of items and encouraging generalisation from observations, observing material in teachers‟ and
  • other students‟ presentations/findings) (Felder and Silverman 1988)
  • Provide intervals for reflection and active participation (Felder and Silverman 1988)

Activate students
Encourage  students  to  actively  participate  in,  and  directly  experience  their  own  learning, rather than to passively read, hear or see (Stice 1987). Give students tasks to solve through project and problem-based learning (Pettersen 2001, Øzerk  2006).  Practical  exercises  can  for  example  involve  patient  observation,  listening, questioning, raising self-awareness, and awareness of the process itself. The patient may be real, or a student acting as a patient

Encourage students to solve problems and discuss material together
Encourage students to teach each other
Provide  opportunities  to  practise  (Felder  and  Silverman  1988).  This  could  involve  case taking  as  an  integrative approach. Students  can be  actively  involved  in  case-taking  and  evaluation, through either direct interaction with patients, peers or by analysing video-taped or  other  types  of  cases.  All  aspects  of  homeopathy  education  and  training  could  be integrated into different subjects taught throughout a course
Encourage  group  work  (Armstrong  2004,  Taylor  et  al.  2000)  underpinned  by  clear  group rules, so that individual students feel safe in the learning environment, thereby enabling the group to function effectively (Armstrong 2004, McGill and Beaty 1995, Nordland 1997)

Encourage  self-reflection  and  the  use  of  learning  journals  and/or  learning  portfolios.

Through self-evaluation, students can learn how to regularly review their homeopathy and other competencies. This may contribute both to student learning during education, and to their continuing professional development after graduation

Encourage students to consult with a homeopath themselves, in order to better understand the process of case taking, and the patient/practitioner relationship

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