Philosophy of Teaching

If we are hungry we eat. If we are thirsty we drink. If we desire knowledge we learn….
At least that’s the inherent message student’s give when the course begins. How do we keep that motivation and passion for life-long learning going? It’s a difficult question but one I’m trying to do my best to answer. I teach to share and also to learn. I hope, and feedback tells me, that I create a student-centered environment where students are active learners. My classroom is a symbiotic environment where learning is a shared task.
In PA education, students are asked to “drink from a fire hose.” The breadth and depth of knowledge they must obtain is amazingly complex and this has to occur at a rapid pace. I’m looking for ways to increase student motivation and engagement.


The Association of American Medical Colleges has called for a change to the ways that we teach medicine. We know that student’s attention begins to wane after 15 minutes of a lecture. But there are ways to mitigate this. Richard Mayer has identified multimedia-learning principles, which I incorporate as part of my lectures that allows for increased student engagement by using both visual and auditory pathways to maximize learning.
I’ve also started using nontraditional methods of learning by changing my teaching style to use facets of both problem-based learning and team-based learning. This incorporates creating online lectures and web-based activities, which I’ve created to allow for asynchronous learning.
Today’s students live in a digital and ever-changing world that mirrors the changing face of medicine. This juxtaposes the traditional approach to the teaching of medicine that has been prevalent for the last century. It’s important to me to be aware of this and balance the necessity of providing needed material while still trying out to methods of learning. Paul Koltnow