Enduring Questions

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced a new grant program. Winning faculty will receive $25,000 to design a new course that addresses an “enduring question.” Examples include: “Are there human universals?” “What is the relationship between humans and the natural world?”

Although the grants are limited to undergraduate courses, they offer a compelling framework for approaching graduate medical education. Too often we begin teaching–whether in a classroom or at the bedside–with the idea of covering material. That is, we treat interactions with students as an opportunity to convey information.

The problem with the “brain dump” is that students may not comprehend or retain much of the material. Starting with the end goal ensures that the teacher is engaging students’ critical thinking skills and not just their memorization skills. A powerful end goal is one of the overarching questions of the discipline.

4 Responses to “Enduring Questions”

  1. Christopher Shanahan, MD says:

    I completely agree. In Medicine we constantly see only the trees and never comprehend the forest.

  2. Hey I definetly enjoy your story and it was too instructive therefore I am definetly going to save it. I Have to say the exceptional analysis this article has is definetly extraordinary !! No one goes that extra mile these days? Bravo ! Also another tip you shouldinstall a Translator for your Worldwide Readers

  3. It is rare for me to find something on the internet that’s as entertaining and intriguing as what you’ve got here. Your page is sweet, your graphics are great, and what’s more, you use source that are relevant to what you are talking about. You are certainly one in a million, great job!

  4. I tried taking a look at your blog in my blackberry and the page layout does not seem to be right. Might want to check it out on WAP as well as it seems most smartphone layouts are not really working with your web page.