Interprofessional Education

scott's thoughts May 18, 2022

Providing high-quality, patient-centered care as members of a healthcare team is inherent to PA practice.  As such, preparing our students to be desired, effective members of these teams should be an important focus of our curricular efforts.  Designing meaningful, intentional interprofessional education (IPE) activities and interactions where PA students can learn from and with those in other disciplines accomplishes so much more than simply checking a box to show compliance with ARC Standards.  For programs at larger institutions or academic medical centers with multiple other health disciplines and abundant resources, this can be achieved much more efficiently than for programs in smaller, less discipline diverse institutions.  While traditional classroom based IPE activities like case study exercises or shared curricular components serve a purpose, thinking outside the box to provide interactive IPE experiences can open many doors for programs regardless of...

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Fostering Student Success Through Building Self-efficacy

scott's thoughts May 11, 2022

The rigors of PA education prove challenging to even the best and brightest students.  It is not uncommon for students to encounter difficulties at some point during their training, and ensuring your program is prepared to equip learners to overcome these hurdles is imperative to long-term student success.  An effective remediation program should ameliorate knowledge deficits, but a well-designed remediation program reflects that knowledge is just one piece of a very complex puzzle.  Anyone who has worked with struggling students has likely witnessed firsthand the mental anguish and battles that need to be overcome, along with knowledge deficits, in order to ensure positive outcomes. How can we as educators influence our students’ success beyond correcting knowledge gaps?

Albert Bandura pioneered the concept of self-efficacy which posits that a student’s belief in their ability to achieve a goal is directly related to their motivation toward and likelihood...

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Writing Higher Order Exam Questions

scott's thoughts May 04, 2022

How we assess students matters.  Students will rise to the level of expectation laid before them, and the level at which they are assessed will inform their study strategies.  Consistently presented with lower order exam questions requiring nothing more than rote memorization, students will resort to solely memorizing the information presented in didactics.  If they lack prior experience with high level assessments, students are ill-equipped to transition to assessments requiring complex conceptual integration and practical application. 

As clinicians and PA educators, we know memorization does not translate to ability to apply clinical reasoning to patient care. Yet, all too often, we fail to push our students to develop the synthesis and critical thinking skills needed and are left scratching our heads when they flounder on rotations and underperform on benchmarking exams.

Why do programs fail to assess students at high levels during didactics?  The...

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Metacognition and the Problem of Class Size

scott's thoughts Apr 27, 2022

During the didactic year of a PA education, students read a great deal of material, and sit through lectures regarding the same, absorbing information as they move along. In our Student Success Coaching Model, we strongly emphasize teaching metacognition skills, relying on strong interaction between the student and instructor/advisors. Initially this may sound utterly impractical, particularly to a faculty member tasked with imparting a subject to a classroom of one hundred students who have paid well for the privilege. How could there possibly be time to address each individual student’s needs?

Of course, we have more than enough experience with PA level education to know that this is an issue of primary importance. The Student Success Coaching Model is a streamlining process; its employment results in better outcomes for everyone involved, students and faculty alike. The model asks not that faculty work harder, but work smarter, and that students do the same. Prior to...

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Metacognition and Understanding Learning Styles

scott's thoughts Apr 20, 2022

The first step in learning how to think is to discover one’s own learning style – that is, the cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that individuals use to perceive and interact with the surrounding world. We are all unique in how we take in information, remember it, incorporate it into new arenas, or convey it to others.

As an educator, you are already well aware of learning styles. Our goal here is not to restate the obvious. Some people like to learn through reading, others prefer to hear material aloud, and others yet need to get their hands on a problem. This is something we understand simply by interacting with others. In pursuing a career in education, we become keenly aware of how our students’ learning styles can impact their classroom success.

Where we may falter is not in our understanding, but in our application. How much consideration do we take into presenting difficult, graduate-level material in a way that maximizes its reception? If we...

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How do we teach metacognition?

scott's thoughts Apr 13, 2022

We have discussed previously the usefulness of metacognition in graduate-level teaching and learning. By practicing metacognition, we become aware of the amazing amount of work our minds do. We then use our particular skills to successfully employ high-level learning when we can and seek assistance or innovation when we cannot.

To introduce metacognition to students we employ three critical steps:

  • We show students that their ability to learn is mutable;
  • We teach planning and goal-setting; and
  • We give students ample opportunities to practice monitoring their own learning and adapting that practice as necessary.

We introduce these three steps, then reinforce them to students repeatedly over the course of their PA education through the Student Success Coaching Model through:

The Student Success Model incorporates three basic methods of facilitating metacognition:

  1. Robust study skills taught at the beginning of the program and sprinkled throughout. One of the first things we do is...
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Why Do We Teach Metacognition?

scott's thoughts Apr 06, 2022

We have found that teaching metacognition methods to students allows them to self-monitor their own learning behavior, to become aware of their learning deficits and develop coping strategies, and to discover where their learning skills are strongest so they can use those skills to their maximum potential. Students learn to integrate and analyze knowledge at an advanced level.

Therefore, metacognitive teaching using mentoring, through both the classroom face-to-face interactions, and the Student Success Program, introducing students to methods of “learning to think” and “thinking to learn.” By showing students how to examine the working of their minds, we show them how to manipulate their preferences and programming to their advantage.

Those with strong metacognitive knowledge display several traits:

  • They know the limits of their own memory for a task.
  • They seek help when and where they need it
  • They frequently perform self-assessments of their knowledge to...
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Metacognition and the Student Success and Remediation Program

scott's thoughts Mar 30, 2022

Previously in our blogs, we examined the role of the student, success coach, and faculty in the Student Success Coaching Model. The improved outcomes we expect from the Student Success Coaching Model depend on all three parties fulfilling their duties in the process. When this cooperation occurs, everyone benefits from improved performance. We now begin our examination of the essential role metacognition plays in our Student Success Coaching Model

A change in basic assumptions takes place in our coaching model, in which both the faculty and students adjust their thinking about the purpose of a class and the responsibility for the class material:

  1. Material is not just covered; it is uncovered.
  2. As the educator, you may not discuss all the material that is testable.
  3. The responsibility to learn lies with the students.

Even though the responsibility for success lies ultimately on the student, the faculty/advisors have ample opportunity to create platforms in which students can not only...

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Roles in the Student Success Coaching Model: The Student

scott's thoughts Mar 23, 2022

The singular goal of the Student Success Coaching Model is a passing PANCE score. The steps we take to move students toward this goal begin before the first day of classes. We strive to improve student grades, performance, and test-taking skills throughout matriculation and the benefits reaped are exponential. Ultimately, the passing PANCE score is the prize. Potential students can check to see what percentage of your students pass the PANCE on their first try. The answer to that question can play a significant role in their decision to pursue an education with your PA program.

The idea that with the Student Success Coaching Model, we (and you!) level the playing field for students from diverse backgrounds and educational experiences to give them  their best chances to succeed in a rewarding, beneficial career is a primary focus of our efforts.

Following the needs and progress of every student is key to the Student Success Coaching Model. It monitors all students of the cohort...

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Roles in the Student Success Coaching Model: The Success Coach

scott's thoughts Mar 16, 2022

The Success Coach is a specially trained position focused specifically on moving students through the Student Success Coaching Model. In this blog, we’ll examine more thoroughly this vital role in the model’s performance. While principal PA program faculty serve as academic advisors for students, we recommend selecting two faculty members to serve as student success coaches, one for the didactic phase and the other for the clinical year. 

Train the Trainer

Our Student Success Package provides faculty training, with twelve months of follow-up supervision. After experiencing Train the Trainer, faculty will demonstrate they have:

  1. Developed skills for counseling students at risk and develop academic remediation plans
  2. Deepened their understanding of assessment-related practices defined by ARC-PA to provide modifications to remediation practices and curriculum related to assessment
  3. Developed an understanding of good practice in observing and giving feedback to students...
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