“Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I’ll remember. Let me do, and I’ll understand.”
That quote has been attributed to various famous figures and philosophers over the years, but it still holds true for most learning endeavors. That’s why five years ago, I “flipped” my EMS classroom to incorporate more practical application of material, and less of me talking. Rather than the traditional classroom model where I’d recite EMS trivia and let the students figure out how to apply it after class, I let my students memorize those facts at home, and in class I taught them how to apply that material.
It worked. My students graduate with a deeper understanding than their counterparts, and generally ace their exams. They’re better prepared than my students of the past. Yet, they still have a steep learning curve towards the end of class, where they move from standardized patient scenarios, to actually working with real patients.
Complicating the issue was that I teach EMT’s who generally work in rurual settings. The hospitals and EMS agencies where they do clinical rotations generally don;t have high patient volumes, and it’s not unusual for one of my students to do an entire shift without seeing a patient. Hence, they have to do extra shifts quite often.
It took my partner Nancy Magee to remind me that usually the first thing an EMT student does when he gets his textbook is start flipping towards the back to look at all the gory pictures. They cannot wait to start working with real patients. Yet, my classes still heavily weighted clinical rotations towards the end of the course.
“You teach it backwards,” Nancy opined. “Everybody does. Somebody should teach it from the back of the book to the front.”
She was right, but it took me a while to wrap my head around what she was saying. She didn’t mean teach Chapter 46 first, she meant move all those things we typically do towards the end of the course to the front.
So, introducing EMT 360, the course that takes the flipped classroom and flips it yet again! Our students are going to graduate from EMT 360 in the same amount of time as other classes, only with well over twice the clinical exposure, and by the time they graduate, they’ll have been talking to and treating real patients every week for four months.
Stick around for updates, as Nancy teaches this old dog some new tricks, and our students reap the benefits!