Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

The Role of Emotionality in Teaching and Learning

Emotion and learning have been viewed largely as separate entities, often with the role of emotions in learning (e.g. anxiety) as hindering. However, recent research has pointed to the interdependence between emotions and learning, suggesting that emotions are important, and perhaps even central to the cognitive learning process. Biologically, emotions are powerful motivators of learning because they activate brain mechanisms (e.g amygdala) that originally evolved to manage our basic survival. When reflecting on past educational experiences, the best teacher most quickly recalled is usually one with whom an emotional bond existed. To maximize student understanding and transfer of educational experiences into real-world skills and careers, medical educators must find ways to leverage the emotional aspects of learning by:

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Can we be Consciously Unbiased?

Implicit biases are associations between different concepts that develop over time, and influence us outside of our conscious awareness. The topic of implicit bias has entered mainstream conversation, and is the subject of discourse and debate. Some believe that implicit biases can be eliminated, and individuals can become consciously unbiased. Others suggest that implicit biases are impossible to change, and that attempting to recognize or manage biases is an exercise in futility.

Can we break our biased habits?

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Admin User

Interesting and helpful, thank...

Fascinating article, thank you! I teach final year medical students about cognitive bias in the context of diagnosis and treatment... Read More
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 1:01 AM
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A Millennial Learner’s Journey to Becoming a Physician Assistant

Growing up, I was often surrounded by health professionals as I accompanied my mother and brother to numerous medical appointments. I was immersed in the healthcare field starting at a very young age and that inspired me to work as a healthcare professional. The physician assistant profession was created in the mid-1960’s to ultimately expand the primary care workforce and address the shift of physicians training to provide specialty care. Over the last forty years, physician assistants have demonstrated that they are effective partners in a changing health care environment and have the ability to fill provider gaps and new roles in interprofessional team-based delivery systems. As a cohort, millennials aspire to have a career that allow us to be mission-driven, have good work-life integration, and experience personal happiness as well as professional success. These are just some of the reasons I - in addition to many other millennials - am drawn to pursuing a career as a physician assistant. In this blog post, I articulate the goals I have developed for my upcoming physician assistant training.

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Admin User

On Your Way, Alyssa!

Speaking as your former professor in Communication Skills, I'd say you learned your lessons well (and I LOVED that second paragrap... Read More
Wednesday, 06 March 2019 3:03 PM
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Behind the Curtain with Senthil Rajasekaran: Developing a Global Competency Framework for Universal Health Care

Recently, Senthil Kumar Rajasekaran was invited by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a part of a small working group of health professions education experts to develop a global competency framework for universal health coverage. As an alumnus of the 2013 “Leading Innovations in Healthcare and Education” course – who has also served as course faculty - we thought we would sit down with Senthil and ask him some questions about this meeting, his participation, the team’s recommendations and to learn about the global competency framework as it applies to health professions education 

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The Role of "Instructor Talk" in the Classroom

You can impact student success simply by the way you speak in the classroom! Instructor Talk is a term coined by researchers who looked at the impact non-content related language had on student success. Non-content language is the little things we say to students during a class session that foster a positive learning environment. Just by switching up how we talk to students can impact their perceptions. For example, switching from, “I have extended the deadline for the project” to “I have extended the deadline for the project to give you additional timeor from “We will begin today discussing . . .” to “To get you prepared, we will begin today discussing . . .” can help.

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Admin User

Great Advice

I really liked the idea of how adding a few additional words like “To get you prepared, we will begin today discussing . . .” to t... Read More
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 12:12 PM
Melissa Alexander

Important Tips for Directing A...

Thanks for some really useful phrases for directing learners’ attention!
Sunday, 24 February 2019 5:05 PM
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