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Journal of the Anatomical Society of India

Vol. 52, No. 2 (2003-07 - 2003-12)


Teacher has a role beyond just teaching the subject. It is superfluous to state that overall development of the students, both undergraduate and post graduate, is our responsibility. Moulding the mind and inculcating the right attitudes form part of our duty towards them. It's more pertinent in case of graduate students. They are the future of this discipline as they chose it as a specialization to be mastered.

It is enlightening to remember and follow Dean William R. Inge who pointed out that "The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts, but of values." While Edward Bulwer-Lytton is remembered for his statement 'The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.' While closest in reality is the feel of Thomas Carruthers who painted the picture on unreal canvas by his statement "a teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary".

Research is integral part and so are the methodologies thereof. Plutarch rightly said though in a lighter vein" research is the act of going up alleys to see if they are blind".

Teaching and research constitute the two aspects often forced to take back seats in the professional courses as they are not often considered primary. This attitude is so prevalent allover, it's not seen as aberrant. There are no specialized teaching institutes or courses covering these aspects. But more often than not , it is expected from the qualified specialists in these fields to take the onus upon them. We all are sailing in the same boat.

The essentiality of research as a component needed for teachers in medical sciences was emphasized only of late, almost half a century after inception of Medical Council of India. M.C.I assigned some specific number of publications as requirement for selection and promotion thereafter to higher posts. But it is obviously more often defied than followed in word and spirit. Such is the sad state of affairs in most of the Medical Colleges in India at least as of now!

Frequently the legislating authorities perceive a need for introducing and implementing newer laws or clauses to existing acts. Unfortunately M.C.I. has not introduced this as a precondition obligatory. Recommendations are ignored with much ease. If it becomes a regulation the situation might change for better. The controlling agencies may view from their own angle. But we have the responsibility to promote and implement the recommendations in the better interests of our discipline.

What can be done to achieve this goal? Well, tender minds are more receptive and impressionable. If some time period from the under-graduate syllabus can be carved out and earmarked for basic concepts of teaching and research, it may prove to be the first essential modest step! It's possible if M.C.I. recognizes the need from right perspective and we present and aptly support the view.

As they grow up to graduate level more time can be allocated for teaching and research. Instead of legislative or controlling compulsions it should come more pleasantly as a natural instinct to seek publication of the research carried by them! We need to develop it as part of their attitude.

Here I wish to quote William James (1842 - 1910) "the greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind".

Albert Einstein, while accepting that "no amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong", also lighted a candle with his vision and optimism, ''In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity".

Having pedagogy (comprising teaching and research methodologies) as a paper or at least as a part thereof in the examination at M.D. /M.S. level, will direct the attention of the aspiring specialist to this mostly neglected part of their training.

Let us realize and accept modestly that before this step is planned, it is the trainers that really need the relevant training.

Finally, a concluding quote "What we see depends mainly on what we look for" (John Lubbock).

Long live A.S.I.

Dr. Patnaik V.V. Gopichand

(Dr. Patnaik V.V. Gopichand)

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