Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Teaching "Persona"

At our Education Group meeting this week the topic of "Teaching Persona" came up as a topic for discussion. Teaching persona was defined by one source as "beyond technique or curriculum.. the teacher's own way of being with students"*. Another source suggested that a teacher's persona was "an image that the teacher presents to the class**" that could be actively chosen. Of all that I read, it seemed that authenticity was considered important. However, one school of thought was that one could be authentic and still provide different "images" to different groups or contexts. The most common example was the differing contexts of giving a grand rounds versus teaching on the inpatient service. In this example, the attending could exhibit a formal "expert" persona during grand rounds and a more relaxed informal teaching persona during teaching rounds. Our group was split on this topic with some feeling that persona changes could lead to confusion and uncertainty on the part of learners who may withold sharing their "true self" because they don't feel they have a handle on the "true self" of the teacher. Others shared their own experience of "getting up" for a teaching encounter minimizing their own more introverted side and maximizing their ability to engage and interact with their students. Do you have any thoughts on this topic?