Making the PT Classroom Personal Again: Introducing the Socratic Exchange
Purpose: To introduce an instructional methodology used to optimally engage entry-level Physical Therapy students in the formative course setting. Description: The “Socratic Exchange” is a Q&A student-initiated interaction with the course professor hosted by the BlackBoard tool/course messages utility that generates a one-on-one learning experience exclusively focused on the expressed interest of the student. Summary of Use: Students enrolled in the entry-level professional physical therapy course were required to generate at least one question derived from each unit's preparatory requirements as described in the respective course syllabus. These inquiries were submitted to the course professor via the BlackBoard Tools-Course Message option which provided student confidentiality. All inquiries were required to be submitted no later than 24 hours preceding the scheduled on-campus classroom collaborative session. Each student received an individualized response from the course instructor and was invited to follow-up with additional comments/concerns as deemed appropriate/necessary by the submitting student. Select inquiries were routinely anonymized before being shared with the class as a whole to emphasize concept/construct/context that was deemed to be of value by the instructor for the learning of all. This protocol was adhered to for each unit of study in the respective course. Credit was extended to all participants whose submission was received on-time no matter how simple or sophisticated the inquiry may have been. Longitudinal (3 year) valuation analyses were compiled by means of accessing existing data resources including student satisfaction surveys routinely collected by the academic institution. Preliminary results suggest opportunities exist for more extensive short-term (results) and long-term (outcomes) to be derived from the ongoing implementation and development of this initiative. Importance to Members: Our present-day entry-level physical therapy students (many being APTA members) are the future and vitality of the profession. Emphasizing their worth through initial contacts (course-related correspondence) in the professional entry-level curriculum can establish quality, long-term relationships that may result in novel, discipline-specific development and lifelong learning opportunities. Harmonically optimizing the learning experience by engaging individual students by means of a regularly scheduled question and answer protocol, initiated by the student, is an attempt to make the classroom personal again – and stimulate student participation in the learning process. For those individuals who would hesitate to engage in typical classroom dialog opportunities, the Socratic Exchange provides a means for the professor to meet each and every student where they are - at that precise moment in their academic formation.