TEACHER-LEARNER RELATIONSHIPS IN MEDICAL EDUCATION: A MIXED METHODS STUDY OF THE THIRD-YEAR EXPERIENCE

Open Access
Author:
Jarecke, Jodi Lynn Turner
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Degree:
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
February 18, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Dr Edward Taylor, Dissertation Advisor
  • Edward W Taylor, Committee Chair
  • Elizabeth Jean Tisdell, Committee Member
  • Carol F Whitfield, Committee Member
  • James Truman Ziegenfuss Jr., Committee Member
Keywords:
  • relational-culural theory
  • Teacher-learner relationships
  • adult education
  • clinical education
  • medical education
  • communities of practice
Abstract:
This purpose of this study was to examine third-year medical students’ perceptions of their teacher-learner relationships in the clinical environment; and to explore how these relationships impact students’ perceptions of teaching, learning, and their future roles as educators. To address this purpose, a sequential exploratory mixed methods research design was employed. This involved interviewing 13 second-semester, third-year medical students. Based upon the findings of these interviews, a survey was developed and distributed to the third-year Class of 2011 at a single medical institution. Seventy-two students participated in this survey. Findings suggest that students view the quality and importance of their relationships with clinical educators rather highly, and, in general, these relationships serve to empower students and are characterized by mutual engagement. Furthermore, students suggested that educators are often empathetic to their learning needs as well as their positionality; however, they did not believe that educators remember what it was like to be third-year students. Additionally, although evaluations impacted their abilities to be themselves around educators, they felt they could be authentic in their relationships over time. Students also noted that relationships were shaped by contextual factors, such as time, the clinical hierarchy, and the particular specialty through which they were rotating. It was also determined that teacher-learner relationships have shaped students’ perceptions about teaching and learning in the clinical environment, in that students perceive both teaching and learning as being positively correlated with relationships. Finally, findings suggest that students’ experiences in their teacher-learner relationships are a key factor in determining their specialty choice and how they hope to teach when they become educators. This study provides numerous implications for practice, theory, and research.