August 2, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham

Learning communication skills from groupwork in practical sessions

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Video playing: “You should always clip before performing an ultrasound examination. Air and dirt trapped within the animal’s coat will interfere with the transmission of ultrasound and prevent you obtaining diagnostic images.”

Sarah: “They work in groups through quite a lot of the practicals so a number of the skills that they have to do, they have to do together, they can learn off each other, ask questions of each other, reassure each other. And it’s also very good for developing their group working skills as well so, they work in groups, both for their self study and also for their practicals.

“There’s no point in us coming and saying it’s difficult or saying I can show you how to do it, working things out and helping each other is one of the best ways of learning.”

Students in the lab:
“Can you feel the sesamoid bone? So it’s where Lee’s finger is, in there.”
“I can feel the gap where you can get into the joint there.”
“Well, yeh. you could probably just follow the gap up there.”
“I reckon that’s it just there.”
“What Chris Riggs said was to flex it then find a gap, like, up there. I think it’s that one there. Keep your finger in there. Can you feel it change? when I bend it?”

Student: “I think it helps because we each know a little bit of something better, so if one of us isn’t so good at something we can teach the other person. So we kind of get to share our knowledge.”

Sarah: “We have scheduled sessions where we talk to them about how you work within the group, how you give positive feedback to people, different ways you ask questions, but actually there’s no point in doing that just in the teaching sessions so we, all of the group working should reinforce that. And we have group working where they are relatively unsupervised and we also have group working where they will have a member of staff sitting in with them, so that we can help them develop their skills and develop pointers.”

Sarah Freeman, Laura Levan (School of Veterinary Medicine & Science)

Sarah is teaching second year students in an anatomy practical.
This video was originally published as part of PESL’s Teaching at Nottingham collection.

Posted in Curriculum designEmployabilityPracticals and labsStudent viewsTeaching