Katie is a teacher

Katie (child #3) is a physical therapist in Minneapolis.  Part of her responsibilities include providing continuing education for her colleagues.  One such session was on a method titled “Teach Back” that supports patients learning to implement instructions given to them by their doctor or medical professional.  This summer Katie needed to conduct a refresher session and wanted to make the lesson fun and effectively reinforce the importance of doing “Teach Back” with patients.   Last week she sent an email about her efforts:

I did my Teach Back teaching today.  It went really well, and I was reminded of how rewarding teaching can be.  This is why our teachers accept crappy pay for all the work they do! I struggled to find a good, accessible way to approach the topic.  I used Mom’s (?) idea of tying a knot (a bowline).  I asked them how they wanted to be taught – 8 different groups had the same response “show me” – so of course, to be a bad teacher, I showed them, but quickly and with no real explanations. Okay – they said, we need more.  So I gave them written instructions and a picture of the final project.  Here, that should be enough….not really. Then I gave them step by step photos with the instructions.  Still not enough. This was a great way to illustrate to them how, from my perspective, the instructions and photos were adequate.  Heck, that’s all that I would need.  And I could make the analogy – here, this rope is your medication or your dressing supplies – it is completely foreign material to your patients, yet you are so familiar with it and it is so every-day to you that this seems like anyone should be able to figure it out. Then, of course, I really showed them how to tie the knot, along with the rabbit and fox story to really cement the process.  I was pleased with the way this brought the idea home. Then I wanted to demonstrate and have them try a non-physical task with the teach back method.  I used Barry’s suggestion to teach each other how to get to their house from the hospital.  It worked well to instruct them how to find out what their “student” already knew (do you know where this particular landmark is…) and then how to “chunk” the instructions down to digestible pieces (direct to a particular intersection and then review) – and in the reviewing or “digesting” the “student” really cemented the instructions/directions and could move on to learning the rest of the “lesson.” Okay – it is obvious that this has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in awhile.  Hmmmm…..  Also, I have an audience of enthusiastic and experienced teachers…. Just thought I would share my “slice of life” KT#3


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