- Apr 2022
Kenneth Koedinger, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and thedirector of its Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center, estimates that experts areable to articulate only about 30 percent of what they know.
Imitating such forms with one’sown face and body is an even more effective means of learning, maintainsEmmanuel Roze, who introduced his “mime-based role-play training program”to the students at Pitié-Salpêtrière in 2015. Roze, a consulting neurologist at thehospital and a professor of neurology at Sorbonne University, had becomeconcerned that traditional modes of instruction were not supporting students’acquisition of knowledge, and were not dispelling students’ apprehension in theface of neurological illness. He reasoned that actively imitating the distinctivesymptoms of such maladies—the tremors of Parkinson’s, the jerky movementsof chorea, the slurred speech of cerebellar syndrome—could help students learnwhile defusing their discomfort.
Training students to be able to imitate the symptoms of disease so that they may demonstrate them to others is an effective form of context shifting. It allows the students to shift from a written or spoken description of the disease to a physical interpretation of it for themselves which also entails more cognitive work than even seeing a particular patient with the problem and identifying it correctly. The need to mentally internalize the issue and then physically recreate it helps in the acquisition of the knowledge.
Role playing or putting oneself into the shoes of another is another good example of creating a mental shift in context.
Getting medical students to play out the symptoms of patients can help to diffuse their social discomfort in dealing with these patients.
If this practice were used on broader scales might it also help to normalize issues that patients face and dispel social stigma toward them?