Become a better teacher than your teacher

I have had the privilege of conducting more than 25 Train the Trainer workshops in over a dozen countries in the past five years. During these seminars, experienced educators share experiences, learn to use competency-oriented training materials such as checklists and assessment tools, master step-by-step teaching techniques for inspection bronchoscopy, and familiarize themselves with coaching methodologies used in case-based exercises. They learn about educational philosophies, and practice various approaches to didactic slide presentations.

A question often raised during these seminars is, “why is there no fixed agenda?” While there are many answers to this question, I thought I would clarify at least one of them.

Conducting seminars in different parts of the world means communicating with physician-leaders from different medical environments, social cultures, backgrounds, and experience. Each participant brings a different set of skills, biases, and assumptions to the program. While part of the seminar is task oriented, another part is dedicated to new challenges, including breaking beyond a traditional way of thinking about medical education.

Change is difficult, and resistance to change is a natural reaction for us all. By sharing various components of a multidimensional learning program with participants, instructors are suggesting that educators let go of some traditional habits, acquire new skills, and reflect on how to overcome resistance to change in their own institutions.

Therefore, one of the major doctrines of our Train the Trainer programs is flexibility.

Flexibility means adapting, in-real-time, to the needs and desires of program participants. It also means active listening on the part of program instructors. In this way, we identify and address needs. Through our example (being flexible and actively listening), we non-verbally provide participants with an experience to take home to their own students, because flexibility and active listening are key to successful individualized instruction; by being able to identify a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and respond accordingly with an appropriate educational intervention.

Train the Trainer seminars are culturally enriching, scientifically rewarding, emotionally challenging, and intellectually stimulating for everyone. In a few days, a seminar in Belgrade, Serbia will include experts from throughout the Balkans, and yes, the agenda is flexible:)

Bronchoscopy educators with their students, Hungary 2017