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How All of My Students Passed Board Exams on the First Try

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

For the last several years I have been learning right along with my students. I’ve never been satisfied with just being an average instructor. As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I choose not to be an insane instructor of EMT students.

A personal goal of mine has always been to have all my students pass their practical and written board examinations on the first try. Last semester, I was fortunate enough to reach that goal.

I would like to share some of the things I have learned along the way about student success in the classroom:

  • I have found that students learn best and retain more when they teach themselves. My classes are all required to participate in my online discussion board. I use the critical thinking scenarios and follow up questions from our text (Mistovich; Pre-hospital Emergency Care 9th edition). After the student’s initial response, all of their classmates are encouraged to give constructive feedback. I monitor the discussions and occasionally give my own input. These discussions take place online and outside of class. In class, I encourage small group collaboration to stimulate critical thinking skills.

 

  • Chapter open book quizzes are to be completed prior to attending lecture. This form of self-study helps prepare the student for the information they will receive during lecture. It stimulates discussion and often times the student will come to class with questions about the material. Once again, this puts the student in a situation where they are teaching themselves.

 

  • Finally, I am a rigorous not ruthless instructor. My students know from the first day that they can expect frankness and honesty from me. To let students languish for weeks on end, stealing precious time in their lives that they could use to move on to something else, when in the end they aren’t going to make it anyway—that would be ruthless. To deal with it right up front and let students get on with their lives—that is rigorous.

Kent Sallee is Logistics Coordinator and EMT-B /I.C/AA at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KS.  Sallee found that a combination of rigorous instruction and use of a Brady title helped his students succeed on the first try.

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