Thursday, January 22, 2009


A recent article in The New York Times Education Section described an enormous change in the way the introductory science courses are taught at MIT; yes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology! Rather than the traditional crowded lecture hall, small groups of students explore the problems of science by interacting with peers and using faculty as resources and facilitators. The “50 minute expert lecture” is dead; instead, professors engage students in small group work while clarifying key concepts as they roam from table to table.

How’s it working out?

“Last fall, after years of experimentation and debate and resistance from students, who initially petitioned against it, the department made the change permanent. Already, attendance is up and the failure rate has dropped by more than 50 percent.”

What does this have to do with Medical Education and Grand Rounds?

Everything!! For years, many of the Basic Science and Clinical teachers in medical schools and residency programs across the country have been “bucking” the “case-based and/or collaborative teaching” trends by saying that there is simply too much to “cover” to use these more interactive concept-based teaching approaches. It is true that you can cover more ground with a lecture, but if no one is awake, much less learning, what is the point?

Will medical and residency education be “brave enough” to follow the example of MIT? Can we resurrect interaction, clinical reasoning discussions and vigorous debate at some of our education meetings?

Can we change “Grand Rounds” into something really GRAND? Click on the link above and read the whole article. It is fascinating. We want to hear what your think?