It occurred to me today that the language we use around teaching and learning in medical education or “health professions education” is really lacking in spirit. 

The term “pedagogy” is one I have circled as a learner myself, hoping to understand this illusive concept. I like that it tries to capture something of the intention of teaching, the philosophy and politics as well as the practice. So why not “medagogy”?  

““Pedagogy is more than the accumulation of strategies…it is formed by a view of mind, of learning and learners and the kinds of knowledge and outcomes valued” The Power of Pedagogy- Leach and Moon”

Mim LEach


an example

Royal Local Hospital, ICU 




The Intensive care unit at RLH is renowned for recruiting foundation doctors into anaesthetics and critical care. But why? The unit is fairly unremarkable looking, the staff room has a nice view, the nurses are pleasant and the consultants too but is that enough? The actual answer lies in their medagogy, how they enact their “community of practice” (CoP).

From day one everyone is a valued and respected team member with the potential to learn whatever they want. The FY1 is treated with the same potential as an ACCS trainee already on the program. Nurses are supported equally to gain skills like doing arterial lines and everyone is a key member of a constant process of improving the unit. Above all else they prioritise education, seeing it as an integral part of  the days work, not as an add on, or something to eat your sandwiches to. The ICU at RLH has clear medagogical intentions.

Get to know yourself… what are your medagogical intentions?

Teaching should build a learners self esteem

This is my number one, central doctrine for teaching, the one I would hope to impart on anyone embarking on a teaching path.

  1. Set out to build your learners self-esteem
  2.  Know your theory from your methods
  3. Get to know your learner, what do they need to learn?
  4. plan- how are you going to establish the best way to teach for your learners to learn
  5. reflect, reflect, reflect- what went well? what didn’t work?

  • know yourself (clean your “johari’s window” regularly)
  • Get to know your learner (what do they care about, what do they need?)
  • Get to know your community (who else will be supporting this learner/s?)
  • Get your own support (who’s helping you clean your johari’s window?)

What about you?

So what is your medagogy?

What kind of a teacher do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish by teaching? where have you come from (philosophically, geographically, culturally)? where do you want to get to?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>