Archive for December, 2011

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Well of course I too only see where my torch shines, but it seems impossible to look in any direction without criticism of higher education. And not perhaps just from the usual suspects. I was taken by a delightful quote in the Economist from an article entitled ‘University Challenge’ Ivy League envy leads to an […]

Donald Clark It may be more accurate to say that education has learning difficulties. The system is fixed, fossilised and, above all, institutionalised, so the rate of change is glacial. People are, by and large, trapped in the mindset of their institution and horizontal sector. In truth, small pools of innovative practice are patchy and […]

Dec 29, 2011

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Dylan Wiliam (who must have gone to school just round the corner from where I was born) To the fury of the teachers’ unions, Wiliam, until recently deputy director at the London University Institute of Education, argues that cutting class sizes and putting up new buildings don’t deliver value for money. “The evidence from research,” […]

There is a review of Carl Elliott’s ‘White Coat, Black Hat’ in JAMA. The reviewer comments: Some of these people, who have worked for the pharmaceutical industry, have been interviewed extensively by Elliott. Their insider accounts make this book especially interesting. One former drug representative told Elliott that “pharmacists are like pigeons. Only instead of […]

Dec 08, 2011

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To work out what works in teaching you cannot escape the need to measure learning. It is no use just using ‘Happy Charts’, feedback forms etc. You have to measure what works. Just like you have to measure things to see if a drug works (‘lies, damned lies, and clinical impressions’, as Sam Shuster said). […]

There is much talk in medical education about competencies. There is also IMHO too much rhetoric about skills and attitudes that  are secondary to providing good clinical care. In part I think this is driven by institutional forces and academic careerism. There is a nice quote in this month’s Academic Medicine, reflecting a view that […]

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