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April 1969

The Responsibility of the Learner in Surgical Education

Author Affiliations

Salt Lake City
From the Department of Surgery, University of Utah College of Medicine and the Veterans Administration Hospital, Salt Lake City.

Arch Surg. 1969;98(4):518-522. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340100134018

We are giving our young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.

John Gardner

Student Power. From all sides, requests or demands for more student involvement in academic decisions are heard. To many medical teachers the notion that inexperienced students can make more than a token contribution to curriculum decisions is absurd. If given his choice, the student would avoid the rigorous course work that is the foundation of medical problem solving; he would also select easy and unchallenging schedules and leave himself excessive free time for moonlighting or loafing—or so it seems. Consistent with this expected student behavior and along with most other elements of the higher education establishment, medical educators have traditionally behaved in an autocratic and paternalistic way. They have defined what, how fast, and when the student should learn. As a logical consequence, almost all educational innovations have involved