Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Learning from the Ashtanga classroom

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
~Albert Einstein
I’m back in the classroom for the next month for my last structured “class” of medical school. I’m surprised at how hard it is for me to sit for 8 hours, absorbing lecture after lecture after lecture.

There are certainly some wonderful medical school professors -- people who inspire energy, innovation, passion, and ideas. But sometimes I find the classroom environment to be stifling with minimal back and forth communication and questioning... leaving my classmates and me sitting there with dimmed eyes, bored minds, and listless bodies.

I find myself comparing this classroom to my other place of learning -- the Ashtanga “classroom.” There, the learning is active. The teacher is hands-on. We learn by trial and error. Mistakes are expected and welcomed. We are strengthened, challenged, and pushed to our limits. We have autonomy while also having structure and discipline. From this foundation, we are inspired to read and study on our own, to deepen our own learning.

One of the most important roles of the physicians is that of a teacher… and I think we can learn a lot from other places of learning, like the Ashtanga practice room.

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