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June 1998

What Do Medical Students Need and What Do They Want?

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(6):731-732. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.6.731

TEACHING IS a peculiar activity; if the student fails to learn, teaching, existentially speaking, does not exist. How should we measure teaching? One can ask the students what they think, or test students' knowledge. Typically this testing is done immediately after the educational activity and principally measures short-term memory. A better measure of whether durable learning occurred would be to assess the ability to use (not just regurgitate) the information at a later date. Ideally, one would also wish to know whether students continued to learn about this subject on an ongoing, self-initiated basis: the concept of lifelong learning. This brings to mind the Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

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