What Type of Teaching is best in EMS?

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Albert Einstein

As educators, and providers of educational software, the staff at Platinum Educational Group takes instructing very seriously. Teaching, coaching, and motivating others, is always a challenging task and it can be difficult to know what exactly is the best way to educate others. Current teaching trends, advice from colleagues, and your past experience, can all have influence on how you teach. But what is the best way? First, let’s explore a few different styles of teaching.

This type is also referred to as conventional teaching. Rote knowledge and memorization is a staple for this style. It’s based on long-established customary teaching. In other words, it’s how I was taught, it’s how my parents were taught, etc… This type of teaching may be great for memorizing important items in EMS such as drug names, dosages, and assessment mnemonics. However, being an EMS professional requires you to not merely memorize content that will help your patients, but actually know and understand the content and how it’s applied. This requires critical thinking, a mathematical skill set, and the ability to apply patient assessment– all of which cannot be taught by traditional education. Traditional learning, however, is the type of teaching that is most utilized in EMS education.

Online or Distance
Online teaching is simply using technology to accomplish long distance learning objectives. In short, being able to administer a course in a different geographical area than yourself. There is, however, downfalls to this type of teaching. First, students must be disciplined enough to provide follow through. Online teaching is often left to your students’ ambitiousness and ability to be self-motivated. Other challenges include technological limitations, computer literacy, and the lack of one-on-one culture. The upside of online teaching is the flexibility it provides. That bodes well for students that are currently in the workforce.

Blended teaching combines traditional and distance instruction. The benefits to this type of combined education is being able to utilize the latest technology, but still having that face-to-face instruction that many students desire. In addition, students can work at their own pace and it frees up instructors to focus on students’ individual needs. It also allows teachers to make assessments on students to locate their strengths and weaknesses. As technology continues to develop, this is becoming a popular method for programs to apply.

Flipped or Flipped Classroom
Similar to blended teaching, the flipped classroom technique also offers a combination of traditional and blended styles. It differs in the fact that it is completely reverses roles of students and teachers. Students watch online tutorials, participate in discussions, and do research while they are at home. They then engage in those concepts with their peers in the classroom under instructor direction. In a flipped classroom setting the emphasis is on the learners, not the instructors. Like the blended teaching style the flipped method is also gaining in popularity.

Kinesthetic teaching involves the utilization of physical activity and the body’s five senses. This technique was designed to assist students that are labeled as “doers”. These learners have difficulty in sitting through lectures and discussions and prefer “hands-on” methods such as labs, sports, and field experiences. They often have high levels of energy. This bodes well for EMS students when it comes to labs, scenarios, and clinicals.

There is no exact correct path for teaching future EMS and Allied Health professionals—each teaching style that we have talked about can be very effective. It boils down to what style is best suited for your personality type. In other words, “What type of teacher am I”? How can I best get my students to learn critical thinking? Often times, it is a combination of all of the teaching styles.

Maybe the better question to ask is how do I find out what kind of learners my students are? In next month’s Platinum Post we will discuss learning styles and how to set up your classroom to ensure you bring out the best in your students. Stay tuned!