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From the front of the room: An educator's perspective on relevance

Make learning relevant and it will become important

By Tia Radant

It’s all about relevance.

As soon as your mind can make connections between what you are trying to learn and something it already knows, the concept is yours.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to learn about disease or injury when they happen to you or a loved one?  When my son was 2 years old he injured his foot.  When the doctor told me “he fractured his talus” I had to think hard to remember the term.  Now I know more about the talus bone (a small bone in the ankle) that I ever learned in paramedic school.  It became relevant for me to know “talus”. 

Stephanie makes an exceptional observation when she realizes the lecture in class and the textbook provide only an overview.  The heart of learning does not come from just reading or listening- we must synthesize the information to really learn the concepts. 

When Stephanie created a memory game with post-it notes and involved her daughter in her learning, she contextualized the anatomy terms with something familiar.  Now when she is asked to identify the “tibia” or “liver” she will have a context in which to recall the term. 

The amount of time spent on anatomy in EMT class may be less important that how that time is spent.  Listing terms on a whiteboard or reading about the terms is a book will not make the terms relevant to your life.  Students must actively engage in learning.  Just as Stephanie used her yoga class as an opportunity to study anatomical terms, you can find ways to integrate new concepts into your life.  The amount of information in EMT class can feel overwhelming.  Break down each topic into small parts and remember: make it relevant.



About the educator:

Tia Radant, MS, NREMT-P has been a paramedic and educator for 12 years and is currently the Director of Emergency Service Programs at Inver Hills Community College in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  She also works as a paramedic for Allina Health EMS and as a volunteer for the Metro CISM Team.



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