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A Practical Guide for Medical Teachers.
  1. B I Hoffbrand
  1. Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, London, UK

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    Edited by John A Dent and Ronald M Harden. (Pp 453; £34.95.) Churchill Livingstone, 2001. ISBN 0-443-06273-0.

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    The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall "star" rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.

    This book tells you all you wanted to know and a good deal more that you now need to know about the revolution that has been taking place in undergraduate medical education in the past decade or more. The editors' stated intention is to provide jargon-free understanding of contemporary educational principles and provide practical advice on dealing with all aspects of teaching. They succeed brilliantly well.

    The book is divided into seven sections (totalling 39 chapters in all) starting with aspects of the curriculum, learning situations such as lectures, small groups, wards, primary care etc, educational strategies (independent, problem based, integrated and multi-professional), aids such as computers, audio-video, and guides, themes (basic sciences, communication skills, ethics, informatics etc), means of assessment, and aspects of students and staff such as selection, support staff development, and course monitoring.

    There is evidence of tight editing in terms of chapter style and layout and excellent cross referencing between the chapters. The book is enlivened by quotations in wide easy-on-the-eye margins. These also host simple line drawings of such important practical aspects of teaching as the ideal distribution of teacher and taught round a bed. The advice to ensure students do not go off on electives to countries with military or civil unrest is not profound but well timed. Each chapter provides suggestions for further reading.

    The principles and examples are, as the editors suggest, relevant to postgraduate medical education and other healthcare professionals. But for those involved in the teaching of medical students, this book from Dundee, a teaching centre of excellence, is warmly recommended for those who want to improve their understanding and performance and hence enjoyment of this Hippocratic responsibility.

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    • The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.

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