Wednesday, 4 May 2016

First Class

When I teach the PAHS medical students in English (the official language of their curriculum) I am cognizant of the varied level of their spoken English comprehension.  This stems from the fact that there is a mix of students from quite rural to very urban settings.  They all pass a standardized written English comprehension exam, but the location of their previous schooling largely influences  much of their comprehension of spoken English. 

For this reason I have adopted a flow of teaching here that seems to bridge the language divide in the class.  I begin the class and teach for no more than 10 minutes, before stopping and inviting the class to talk amongst themselves in Nepali. That’s when the magic happens.   Students sit three to a small table in rows in the classroom.  Those with solid English skills enthusiastically explain, in Nepali, to their table-mates whose language comprehension may not be as strong.  The energy level in the room escalates and students energetically gesticulate while pointing at their notes or at the image on the slide.  After 2 or 3 minutes I answer any questions, then carry on for a further 10 minutes before stopping again. 

I taught my first class yesterday on the topic of the genesis of the Electrocardiogram.   
One thing thing that leapt out at me from the front of the classroom was the total lack of glowing white “Apple” logos.  Laptops are ubiquitous in my classes at UBC.   Instead there were 60 pairs of very bright eyes.  They are kicking it old school here at PAHS and they seem to be rocking it.  Dr. Rolina Dhital (my colleague here) assured me the lack of computers in the class room is no indication of the tech-savviness” of the PAHS students – they just don’t bring them into the classroom.

I left today satisfied that “Batch 5” at PAHS will be a pure delight to work with. 

Truly “First Class”


  1. That was brilliant the way you made the adjustment. How wonderful for your students and for their learning! I loved reading this particular post. ~ Katya