Re: Problem-based learning

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 53 , No. 6 , July August 2011 , Pages 258 Letters

I can empathize with Mr Provan’s frustration with PBL (BCMJ 2011;53;132-133). Monday mornings were particularly useless, as we sat around trying to brainstorm through a new case before having received relevant lectures. Those of us who were hoping for teachers to give us a strong foundation in early medical school were disappointed. 

A classmate of mine once said, “Why am I paying tuition to have someone tell me to look it up myself?” On another occasion, when a lecturer during the psychiatry portion of Brain and Behavior asked for an example of an overvalued idea, another classmate sarcastically remarked “PBL is educational.” 

The marking scheme favored those who talked too much or too loudly, whereas those who were more introverted were at a disadvantage. I was one of the more introverted individuals, and one day a tutor advised me to “play the game.” So I started talking before anyone else did at the next tutorial session, which felt unnatural and probably caught some of the others off guard, but ultimately I passed and that’s what counted. 
Ultimately my class (2004) struck down the option of getting an H (honors) in PBL. At least nowadays, “students are lucky enough to have case workshops.”

—Jerome Yang, MD

Jerome Yang, MD,. Re: Problem-based learning. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 6, July, August, 2011, Page(s) 258 - Letters.

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