Home » Uncategorized » Adopting a “beginner’s mind” in delivering medical education!

Adopting a “beginner’s mind” in delivering medical education!

I just read a great post by a medical student on their blog called “Drinking from the fire hose” talking about some strategies to improve teaching in medical students which prompted the following reply from myself. This post was in itself a response to a post on Kevin MD.com’s blog about “Reward or punishment in medical training” (another good read).

Here’s my response – Thanks for raising four great strategies for good teaching  

1. know your audience,

2.  Give real-time specific feedback,

3. Adopt a beginners mindset, and

4. Take time to teach,


I particularly liked the third point;


“3. Adopt a beginner’s mindset when teaching. Lead your learners down your thought process, from beginning to end. Teach your students how to THINK, instead of trying to transfer knowledge to them (the internet is better and bigger than you are).”

The beginners mindset is spoken about a lot in Yoga philosophy and I quite like it. In the game of education, we all started from a point from where we “didn’t know”, and moved to a point where we “kind of know” – and this process was called learning. I think the process of learning and discovery is really fun, but unfortunately under the scrutiny of poor feedback techniques (which essentially is the same as saying “poor communication techniques”) that potentially pleasant experience can become painful (and often does in many peoples experience in medicine). 

Speaking as an educator I couldn’t agree more with the notion that one should “adopt a beginner’s mindset” as this is a great strategy. I also like your comment about “leading learners down your thought processes” as I think this is an essential step which is often missed in clinical education, particularly because of time pressure. However,  I believe the purpose of this is not to “teach your students how to THINK”, but rather to show them how “YOU” THINK and let them decide for themselves of how they can either accept or reject that strategy for themselves in figuring out how “they” will think – either way having presented yourself as the model it can give them a framework for learning how to learn for themselves.  Anyway that’s just my two cents! 

Great pos & good luck with your training!


Bish 🙂




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