I enjoy teaching, I admire human curiosity and I love
medicine. I teach not only because I am passionate about
the science in medicine, but also because I want to share
the knowledge with anyone who wants to understand
and master it.
Early in my career as a doctor, I realised that
doctors spend half our lives learning our profession
by practising it and participating in an extensive
programme of continuing medical education and
practice. Thus, we owe it to society to spend the second
half of our lives advancing the collective understanding
of human diseases.
Advancing medical knowledge through research is
complex. On the one hand, we need to enhance our
basic understanding of disease biology, on the other,
we need to ensure that this new knowledge is translated
appropriately into technology that benefits patients.
For each disease, we need a constant influx of young
researchers who want to study about the disease, and
young doctors who can simultaneously translate this
research into diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for
better patient health.
My students comprise A-level and polytechnic
students, science and medical undergraduates, clinical
postgraduates, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows
and practising consultant clinicians-all playing critical
roles in the healthcare industry.
In order to improve my presentation and delivery skills
when I first started teaching, I attended innumerable
symposia and workshops on audiovisual aids, adult learning, tone, pitch and delivery, but with little if
any, impact on my teaching. It was then that I realised
students will not be motivated to learn if they do
not have the drive. Thus, instead of using a didactic
approach to teaching, I focus on igniting students' desire
for knowledge and keeping that quest for knowledge
alive in them throughout the course. This has been my
teaching strategy since.
Today, I only give didactic lectures occasionally or
when specifically invited. At other times, I dedicate
my first lecture entirely to inspiring my students to
learn and give their best. I help students identify not
only what I expect them to learn in the given time,
but more importantly, why they need to learn it. That
personal drive to learn created by such a lecture ensures
focus, creates in students a thirst for knowledge and
a better understanding of the subject, and generates
enough momentum to keep students going throughout
the course. Once students take off on a self-driven
quest for knowledge, I review their progress at predefined
intervals to ensure students are on the right
track. Students do all the hard work and their rewards
are knowledge, self-efficacy in learning and self-confidence.
As an educator of medicine, moulding young minds
and inspiring in students a thirst for knowledge and a
quest to better the medicine of our time is rewarding.
Some of my students have gone on to pursue careers
as scientists, doctors as well as academics, carrying
with them the desire to inspire others and better the