Teaching Excellence

August 14, 2019

Monica Newton, DO, MPH, FAAFP, Family Medicine Residency Program Director

Teaching is one of the core competencies of our Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Graduate Medical Education (GME) Family Medicine faculty. This fall, we’ve been co-teaching in partnership with our internal medicine colleagues for what we call an Inpatient Refresher series. This series was a CME event where we offered community physicians and our family medicine faculty the opportunity to brush up on inpatient medicine topics. The series was well attended, and it was a chance to partner and spread our wings in the advance of residents. In addition, we were very intentional to provide feedback on the lecture content, delivery and style.

Simultaneously, we partnered with University of North Georgia biology professor, Dr. Cathy Whiting, and her teaching assistants to “concept map” our traditional PowerPoint lecture to demonstrate a different method of instruction. Flowing from Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher order thinking and a book written by Peter Brown called Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, concept mapping asks to connect things they are learning to the body of knowledge they already know.

Concept mapping is a visual representation of knowledge showing the main points and their relationship to other ideas. It can be used to help people study, understand, relate or explain to others. It helps the learner – who may be focused only on test-taking and grades – get away from memorization and toward synthesizing information, making it easy to recall. Dr. Whiting and her team took our traditional lecture on sepsis and drew it out on the whiteboard. This connected new concepts to those rooted in the physiology that they were studying.

The teaching assistants were amazing and really inspired us as a team. We immediately realized some of the many benefits of this technique:
• Engages both right and left hemispheres of the brain;
• Aids in recall;
• Visually demonstrates concepts that are related, or dependent, on other concepts;
• Encourages creative thinking;
• Builds higher-level thinking skills (create, analyze, evaluate);
• Able to evaluate thoughts and visually see where gaps in knowledge exist.

Several faculty have been reading Make it Stick. At this month’s faculty development session, Dr. Linu Joseph (pictured above) did an amazing job of stepping away from a typical PowerPoint presentation and masterfully connected difficult concepts and formulas related to acid-base disorders and their compensation. Our faculty are committed to teaching innovation. This is a strength that we will bring to our Family Medicine residents.

Applying concept mapping to our current knowledge that we’ve gained through the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Faculty Fundamentals course, has been invaluable. Though we have not mastered it, this effort epitomizes one of our core beliefs that by having a growth mindset, we are better tomorrow than we are today.

About Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s GME Program

Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s (NGMC) GME program is accepting applications for the Internal Medicine, General Surgery and – new for 2019 – Family Medicine Residency Programs. Residents will match in the spring of 2020. NGMC’s Graduate Medical Education program is designed to train residents to be leaders in the medical field as well as in the community. Learn more about the NGMC GME program