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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Melissa M. Ranieri, BS, PharmD (Temple University School of Pharmacy)
Description: Research has shown that students flourish when they are engaged in an active learning environment, and teaching is moving toward a learner-centered rather than a teacher-centered approach. This book outlines several strategies that have proven effective in incorporating active learning in various pharmacy learning environments.
Purpose: The unique workbook style enables readers to assess their teaching style in order to understand the best way to expand on their current didactic skills. It explains concepts in a way that readers can easily understand the benefits of implementing novel teaching strategies as well as how to incorporate them into their classes.
Audience: This book could be used by any pharmacy faculty member across the spectrum, from a newly hired instructor to a seasoned educator wishing to incorporate new teaching strategies. Chapters are nicely organized so readers can find information that is pertinent to them, such as small group learning versus teaching in a large classroom. The authors, both experienced faculty who teach in the didactic and experiential settings, are experts in the field of pharmacy education; this is apparent in the practical way the text flows.
Features: The first chapter addresses the characteristics of an effective teacher, with exercises to help readers reflect upon their own strengths and weaknesses as educators. Chapter 2 focuses on students and how they learn, which is fundamental to the educational tools we choose to implement. Other chapters explain how to assess student learning, a valuable tool in the ever-evolving teacher-student dynamic. Separate chapters discuss teaching in small group versus large classroom environments and outline effective strategies to involve students and how to implement them. Sections on technology, professionalism, and faculty development are certainly pertinent to the challenges that pharmacy faculty encounter in teaching today.
Assessment: This is a comprehensive reference for pharmacy educators wishing to understand how students learn best or how to incorporate new teaching strategies in their classrooms. What is perhaps the book's best quality is its realistic approach. Although it includes innovative teaching strategies, it also explains their drawbacks and how students may or may not respond to them. It encourages educators to incorporate these strategies for active learning slowly, especially if students are accustomed to the traditional didactic approach, but to be persistent in moving forward.