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Begin with the framework

April 29, 2011

The best med school lectures (or any lecture for that matter) all begin along the same lines:

When I was first learning this material, I found it really confusing and unintuitive but I found this framework/system useful when I was first putting the pieces together. This is still the basic framework/system I use to organize this material, but I’ve added in all the nuances over time. Here is the framework…

Lecturers, you job is NOT to stand in front of a group and spew forth volumes of information in a public demonstration of your mastery of the material. That is what PhD competency exams are for. Your job is to provide a simplified framework for your students to think about a certain problem/issue/subject. This is what is typically known as “the basics” but all too often skipped over in advanced coursework. Ingrain in your students the basic framework, then move on to adding nuances and exceptions once that basic framework is firmly established. Without a framework to initially work from, nothing is retained and, even worse, nothing is there for students to fall back on when they need to re-learn the material down the road.

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