Medical School Teaching Methods

A crucial part of the medical school application process is really understanding the institution you want to attend. Many future students become so excited at the opportunity of finally achieving their goals that they forget medical schools are like onions: there are many layers to them, one of the most important being teaching methods.

In college, you might have found that teaching methods ranged from professor to professor, allowing you to have preferences and variations within your weeks. Medical schools generally follow one specific, school-wide teaching method out of the five main styles that are primarily used. This allows applicants to know what they will be in for beforehand and pick schools that are more fitting to their learning style.

How to Pick a Medical School Teaching Method? 

Remember, teaching methods refer to how strategies, pedagogy, and instruction styles are used within classrooms. That means, you’ve most likely been exposed to every one of the methods listed below at some point and have a preference. Choosing a medical school based on its teaching method depends on how you learn best.

Before rushing into your medical school applications, think about how each school’s teaching methods can affect you. For example, if you do best with lecture and direct instruction that also provides you visual aids, you might not want to choose a school that thrives on only autonomy.

What are the Teaching Methods?

Medical School Teaching Methods

Traditional Instruction

Traditional instruction describes the way most traditional university classes are taught. Students follow a curriculum for a specific theory made by a teacher before moving on to practicing in a clinical setting a few years later. The teacher in charge has the power and responsibility to make sure these students are learning the content correctly so specific outcomes can happen. This method is great for students that thrive in environments where they can perfect their skills and continually study a concept for a long time before moving into actual practice.

Integrated Instruction

Integrated instruction focuses on how theory and clinical practices can be mixed together to create the perfect balanced strategies for students to take into real healthcare settings. Since there is no single way to create a successfully integrated instruction curriculum, students can be expected to be kept on their toes by their teachers with a broad range of questions that are not limited to the educational setting.

Problem-focused Instruction

Problem-focused instruction is a method that has already been adopted by most medical schools as it allows students to be very patient-centric early on. Here, students are given medical cases to solve that also involve a teacher’s insight along with some collaboration within group work. The goals of this method are to develop your interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, and the empathy needed to make sure patients are the first priority.

The level of problem-solving instruction varies with each university, so don’t be surprised if some utilize it more than others.

Case-focused Instruction

Case-focused teaching is when a medical school uses specific cases to gain their students’ interest before bringing in the knowledge and skills they need to solve it. Teachers are primarily present to provide the basis of what students need to better understand the cases, and supplement them with additional lectures and more.

With this method, students will work with their peers in small groups for a longer period of time, as if they were in a real clinical setting having to figure out a major medical issue. The goal here is to have students see the problems and find out-of-the-box solutions with growing analytical skills that will be used once medical school is done.

Inquiry-focused Instruction

Inquiry-focused instruction relies less on the teacher’s authority and more on the students finding answers within problems, questions, and scenarios. This method allows you to be in charge and get used to autonomy in medical school, so it won’t be as shocking within a real medical setting. This encourages independence early on so students know if they don’t have any resources to turn to, they themselves have the skills to figure out any problem.

Even though some students may do great in this setting, finding schools that offer this is extremely rare, with Birmingham being the only one known for doing so. 

How Can AUSOMA Help You? 

AUSOMA believes in establishing great student-professor relationships early on through an interactive environment that allows students to connect with peers and their teachers. By doing this, our students know that they have the necessary support to get solutions to all of their problems.

We want our students to ask all their questions now so when they graduate, they can jump right into a clinical setting and be confident in the skills that they are providing.