Vasavi  R. Gorantla
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An opportunity to teach neuroscience at a medical college is an excellent way to influence a student career. Teaching neuroscience to a student should involve much more than delivering lectures. As an educator, I aim to inspire students to strive for greatness in studies, by helping them find beauty in subject matter and joy of learning. I encourage students to engage in class, mentor young intellects through mistakes to master concepts, while managing the diversity within the class. University education is a slippery slope for many graduate college students. A student needs to get inspired to continue study after graduate college education. I believe that my efforts of instruction will help students to develop curiosity towards higher education and turn a student trajectory toward an undergraduate or a graduate degree. I love teaching neuroscience at a medical college for the opportunity it presents to shape lives by being the catalyst to the success of aspiring minds.
Neuroscience instruction at a medical college needs a dedicated instructor because most students find this a bit confusing. Having 14 years of teaching experience at a medical college I see a lot of students without any background of neuroscience entering the medical college and struggle. For those students I spend extra time outside the regular scheduled lectures to explain and give the basics for learning neuroscience.
The process of learning is a difficult task for subjects like neuroscience and physiology. Students may struggle to master neuroscience without enough feedback from the instructor. Therefore, I put my focus on student engagement in the classroom and small groups while discussing clinical cases more than any other aspect of my teaching. For me, it’s like an instant replay and a valuable review of my teaching effectiveness. For example, while delivering lectures, I check on my class by asking students a follow-up question or explain the content from the lectures in their words. If the class lacks the enough comprehension of the subject matter, I repeat the concerned areas of the topics in a different style by asking few clinical correlations from the previous teachings. Also, the stop and check style of teaching is giving the student a motive to concentrate and comprehend the information in anticipation of a question from the teacher. In class, I always find ways to help students find their voices and articulate their beliefs in the process of discovery. Learning neuroscience will be easier for students when the lecture turned into a large discussion among students and teacher. For instance, I use poll-everywhere and other interactive platforms to deliver the lectures. Upon the conclusion of a teaching a part of the concept, I ask the class to participate and discuss a set of practice problems. I project few questions to the students and ask them to work on practice problems and encourage a dialogue on the application of topics about new or real world phenomena. I believe this model continuously provides an excellent opportunity for students to improve their ability to express ideas, public speaking skills, creativity and teaching techniques. When students feel comfortable in class, they develop the confidence to share their views and improve much-needed communication skills for the real world.
The essentials of a quality neuroscience instruction at a medical college must adequately address two diversity issues in the classroom. I believe that every student is unique and every student’s means of learning will be as distinctive too. Firstly, it is of utmost important to assess the prior knowledge of students. It helps me to identify those students who, perhaps through no fault of their own, may require additional assistance. These students need to be taught fundamentals before they can understand the ongoing class material. I have addressed this challenge by using my natural desire to care for every student: I conduct a special boot camp review session, and further provide additional sources of material for students to engage on their own. Secondly, addressing the students with a lack of motivation. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is seen more often in the neuroscience than in many other subjects. I believe that most students lack motivation mainly due to their inability to understand or lack of enthusiasm in neuroscience. Fortunately, my teaching experience has taught me to be more flexible with teaching methods and leave no student behind, which makes me a natural in explaining the content in multiple ways and infusing interesting applications of neuroscience. I also try to resolve these situations by focusing on how to instill a sense of curiosity and excitement in students. For example, I asked my students to solve the problem by demonstrating the signs and symptoms of a particular disease.
As an educator, I’m fully committed to student growth, and I take pleasure in mentoring students to improve their learning potential and analytical skills. I get enormous job satisfaction in training a medical college student into high intellect. Teaching neuroscience at a medical college provides unique opportunity to teach students to possess problem-solving skills in the unexpected situation, and necessary core competencies to succeed in a professional career. In this circumstance, I use my “problem-solving toolbox” method to mentor students. For example, it is of no use to give a direct answer to a student when a student is struggling to find a solution for the problem; instead, I take them through a process of discovery techniques until they figure out the process of problem-solving skills. I enjoy this stage of the learning process as a student works through a problem and I patiently wait until I see the light come on when a student first understands something.
In summary, I am driven to the teaching profession with heartfelt memories and inspirations. I chose to teach neuroscience at a medical college to treat myself with everyday challenges like inspiring every student to appreciate the importance of neuroscience in every clinical scenario. I have had my share of great teachers in my life and look forward to the opportunity to be one myself.

Vasavi Rakesh Gorantla


Reviewer Keywords
neuroanatomy anatomy
Publications (24)

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