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Mandatory Class Attendance


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Our school requires us to be in class, or they'll dock points off our grade. I'm definitely a self-learner and like to go on my own pace, and would rather listen to lectures at home than in the classroom. Sometimes our teachers aren't very helpful/engaging...and it's better to just read the slides or the book instead of listening to them banter. I just feel like it's such a waste of time to sit in class when you're mentally not there...anyone feel me lol? 

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You need to be in class. Period.

My very old opinion and I am an educator and preceptor.

 

You can learn from everyone you meet and some lectures are more dry than others.

 

Not being there shows me a complete lack of commitment and a complete lack of respect for your educators.

 

If you aren't going to show up in class - do I really want you taking care of me or my family?........

 

You guys asked - I am just giving you an opinion of someone who has been there and been doing this for a long time.

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Agree with Reality Check 2. 

 

You cannot put a value to the interactions that are available between you and a lecturer when you are learning medicine.  There are fine points and nuances that get discussed that you would miss if you only listened to lectures or read a book.  If you study ahead for lectures (which is the best way to be ready to absorb the information) then you will get a lot out of a live lecturer.  If you do not study ahead of time, it is less beneficial and overall you will retain less. 

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X3 on Reality Check 2 comment! 

 

You get something out of lecture regardless of what you think. Go to class & pay attention. You may not absorb all of it, but you will hear certain things from those lectures play out in your head when your on rotations and practicing in clinic.

 

Attendance should be 100% mandatory. 

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Different people learn differently. Some need to be in a room with a teacher listening to a lecture. Others might get nothing at all out of it and, frankly, be wasting their time. We're talking about graduate school here...with the top few % of applicants in the country. Shouldn't they be smart enough to know whether they need to be there vs. watching from home? I should hope so.

 

I think the result is far more important than the means. If a good provider can be made without requiring 100% attendance (and apparently that's totally possible--many med schools don't require attendance), then why not let students decide for themselves?

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Seeing a lot of old school dogma here--this will probably ruffle some feathers but whatever. I intentionally skipped class every now and then when I was in school.

 

That's right, my program didn't have mandatory attendance and you know what? Sometimes I skipped class. Especially when there was a lecturer who simply read off the slides. The reality is, sometimes that hour and a half was better spent reading a textbook, watching youtube videos or studying with peers. I took ownership of my own learning and it paid off. Scored >750 on the PANCE, landed a good gig with a high-intensity EM group and I am STILL taking ownership of my own learning, on my own time. If you don't want me taking care of your loved ones simply because my rear wasn't warming a seat every single morning at 9am in grad school, that's your prerogative. 

 

I do think attendance is important in general (i.e., you'd be missing out to NEVER come to class), but I don't agree that it should be mandatory. We're all big boys and girls here.

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I still say - SHOW COMMITMENT and humility.

 

Be present, be there - you are not better than your classmates.

 

Be respectful. Give feedback about lecturers who made you bored or snore.

 

Nothing will change unless the students give feedback.

 

My school was mandatory 25 yrs ago and it made us more dedicated and showed our true desire and commitment to our profession.

 

Hope you don't interview someday with the lecturer you skipped out on that day......................

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Candidates should realize well in advance that if one accepts a seat in a program that mandates class attendance then s/he is agreeing to the rules as set by the program.  Think mandatory attendance is silly?  Think mandatory attendance is not conducive to how you as a student learn?  Don't take the seat in the program.

 

This isn't old school dogma.  This is how life as a professional works both in school and out.

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Commitment and attendance are not mutually exclusive.

 

Absence for the sake of your own personal learning needs has nothing to do with superiority.

 

I definitely agree with giving feedback.

 

Is it possible that information acquisition has changed in the last 25 years and therefore principles that applied to your class may not apply to current classes?

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No Pete - acquisition of information has not changed.

Attitudes might have.

 

The human brain is no better than it was 25 years ago - if anything - over stimulated and over technologized. 

I somehow managed to go to school and learn how to take care of patients without an iPad, the internet, a cell phone or epocrates.

Grey hair and all, I am not dead yet.

 

Just go to class, please - and I hope I am not your lecturer the day you skip. 

It matters to me.

If you are paying to to go to school - actually go.

 

And, I truly agree - if the program says you need to go to class - those are the standards - follow the rules or don't waste the seat in the program.

 

Finally, if you ever miss a day of a clinical rotation - don't even start with me - unless you are sick and in student health - you best be on your rotations.

That is truly insulting.

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You're telling me with the internet at my fingertips 24/7 that information acquisition has not changed...? Meh.

 

If you read my post, attendance wasn't mandatory at my program, and I took advantage of that learning environment. It worked for me despite your claims that the mere thought of missing class makes me lazy, complacent, uncaring and arrogant.

 

I agree that you should follow your school rules and be aware of them prior to applying. Further, I never missed a day of rotation; what we are talking about here is lecture; THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF WHICH IS LEARNING. If I can learn better outside of the classroom, guess where you'll find me? 

 

What I am not advocating for: skip every class, never participate, only read textbooks, be lazy, etc. etc. etc.

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Our program has mandatory attendance and I can see the argument both ways.  However, I think everyone benefits more from being in the actual classroom. Yes we have our books and the slides but it isn't the same as when you have a medical provider in front of the class explaining it.  I learned way more about cardiology listening to all our guest lecturers that were actually taught by a cardiologist, cardio-thoracic surgery PA, etc. because they were talking about everything and relating it to real world scenarios and patients they've handled with the conditions. That's just been my experience. 

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You're telling me with the internet at my fingertips 24/7 that information acquisition has not changed...? Meh.

 

If you read my post, attendance wasn't mandatory at my program, and I took advantage of that learning environment. It worked for me despite your claims that the mere thought of missing class makes me lazy, complacent, uncaring and arrogant.

 

I agree that you should follow your school rules and be aware of them prior to applying. Further, I never missed a day of rotation; what we are talking about here is lecture; THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF WHICH IS LEARNING. If I can learn better outside of the classroom, guess where you'll find me? 

 

What I am not advocating for: skip every class, never participate, only read textbooks, be lazy, etc. etc. etc.

 

I'm pretty sick of people attributing insults to previous posters without the previous posters actually saying those things.  Laziness, complacency, lack of caring and arrogance were not previously mentioned by anybody.  Typically I would let it go, but I'm feeling persnickety today, I guess. 

 

It does lack commitment to fail to adhere to your program's standards.  It is disrespectful to miss lectures.  Pete - you have stated your program did not require attendance.  Glad you felt it was the program for you.  Glad you stepped up and took advantage of it.  

 

There are two camps and we just need to have two program types to be honest.  You are not going to convince me or Reality Check 2 that attendance shouldn't be mandatory.  We're not going to convince you that it should be.  I'm glad you have done well, but there are a lot of people in your type of program that blow it off, get by with the bare minimum, and make terrible clinicians. 

 

With regard to rotations - I think we can agree that this is where the rubber meets the road and unless you're dead or dying you ought not miss a day. 

 

Finally, with regard to medical school - let's stop appealing to their model *specifically with regard to mandatory attendance*.  Keep in mind that once medical students are done with their formal didactics then they hit residency in which their real education begins.  In PA school, this is not the case.  We are (I've said this before and I'll say it again) expected to hit the ground running as much as possible on day one (not without supervision, but with as much clinical acumen as can be mustered).  After graduation from medical school, those students are expected to present every patient and they have several layers of built in supervision.  Additionally in residency there are a lot of mandatory lectures because at the end of residency these people *must* know the information. 

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Personally, I feel like if you got into PA school - you're highly ambitious, eager to learn medicine, and definitely not a slacker. I don't think I'm better than anyone else...I just feel like you should be able to have the freedom to learn how you want to learn, especially if you're paying so much tuition to get that education in the first place. Some of my teachers don't put in effort in their lectures, and use someone else's lecture or haven't updated their lectures in 20 years...Time really is so precious in PA school, and I feel like if the lecture is not helpful or a waste in time, it's better to rely on another resource.

 

I think a reason a lot of PA programs compared to med schools keep the attendance mandatory is because if there's a bad lecturer and attendance is optional, it'll look bad on the program if only a few people show up because there's only a limited amount of people in the program compared to med schools which have >200 people in a class usually.

 

Please, let's keep this cordial and not make assumptions or accusations on this thread. I'm curious/interested in hearing both sides of this issue! :)

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Yes, I made assumptions/summaries of arguments made. Perhaps not 100% accurate, though just to set the record straight, not entirely unfounded. Lazy, complacent, uncaring and arrogant were chosen to sum up the following points:

 

"Not being there shows me a complete lack of commitment and a complete lack of respect for your educators."

"SHOW COMMITMENT and humility."

"Be present, be there - you are not better than your classmates."

"Be respectful."

 

Not trying to start a flame war here. Carry on.

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Both sides of the spectrum are justified in my opinion.

 

Attending class because of a mandate does not really demonstrate commitment as much as one's ability to adhere to rules. Students may come to class but if they are only there for the simple fact that it is mandated, I don't see how they are demonstrating a commitment to learning or showing respect. They could be in class and not learn a single thing that day because they weren't committed to learning but committed to following the rules of mandatory attendance. Is the student who is forced to attend class more committed and dedicated to medicine than the student who misses class to study and presents a list of thought provoking questions to a lecturer one-on-one during their office hours?

 

On the other hand, mandatory attendance is implemented to ensure students attend class and prevent every possible chance of attrition and/or remediation. The goal of the program is to not only make sure its students learn the material, but to make sure they graduate and pass the PANCE in order to remain accredited and sustain its attractiveness to future students. Mandatory attendance is a helpful measure to employ because it makes sure students are in class each and every day whether they want to be there or not. Attending class every single day whether it's mandated or not develops discipline that an individual may need one day in the workforce as a certified PA.

 

I don't really agree or disagree with either argument as each program has its own set of rules for a reason.

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I think students SHOULD attend, but making every lecture mandatory makes me feel like a child that needs to be told what to do.  Will I attend most/all lectures? Sure.  But if I need to miss for an appointment or other personal need, I'm an adult and don't want to have to get permission to miss class to protect my grade.

 

This was actually one of the key points I asked at every interview...because I knew it would matter to me.  Whether an individual agrees with the concept or not is irrelevant - the program decides.  If you learn better on your own, bring headphones, sit in the back and quietly work in your preferred fashion while still attending.

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No Pete - acquisition of information has not changed.

 

Maybe for you it hasn't.

 

I can assure you, the stuff that's being done is out there is pretty amazing.

 

We have access to the *best* info from the *best* teachers inside the *best* presentations built into *novel and intuitive* interfaces and apps that take real advantage of how real brains work.

 

Your powerpoint lectures are a dying beast.

 

Give it 10 more years.

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"Presentation" of information has changed.

 

How the human brain utilizes it really hasn't.

 

Just because something is shiny and fast and sparkly doesn't mean the human brain does anything better with it.

 

All your "best" stuff is just shiny. Yes, research has changed the content but the presentation isn't the end all be all.

 

Information is junk until assimilated and utilized in a reasonable and intelligent fashion.

 

Give me a book and a pad of paper - I will learn. Give me a well SPOKEN lecture and I will learn. 

 

The newest computer driven car is only as good as it runs. It breaks down on the side of the road and it is a computer issue.

An old Ford pickup has moving parts that are easier to fix.

 

Be careful what you ask for. 

The human brain doesn't need shiny technology to advance.

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Finally, with regard to medical school - let's stop appealing to their model *specifically with regard to mandatory attendance*. 

 

Fair statement...PA school is not med school, so I should find a better comparison. My guess is that there are enough PA programs out there that don't require 100% attendance that are turning out perfectly capable providers that would prove my point a lot more effectively. But I don't have anything specific to back that up (Pete's compelling anecdote notwithstanding). 

 

Just go to class, please - and I hope I am not your lecturer the day you skip. 

It matters to me.

 

This seems like a teacher-focused view of the educational process, and that's why I just can't agree with it. I realize that the traditional view of higher education is very paternalistic in that teachers are authoritarian figures and students must strive to please them, but let's not forget that the student is doing the paying and the teacher is getting paid. The student is the customer. He/she is paying for a medical education and if he/she figures out that your lecture isn't the best way to learn a particular topic, it shouldn't matter much that it offends you. 

 

This reminds me of the discussion we had a while back about online PA school. I left that with the impression that most arguments boiled down to people being uncomfortable with things that are different than what they've always known. I definitely get that...we're not wired to accept change. But the funny thing is, the way things were done 25 years ago were, at some point before that, some crazy new ideas too. 

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Hey Doug 

I don't get paid.

I volunteer......

 

I precept because I care.

I teach because I am good at it and it can be fun.

 

If you pay for an education and do not take full advantage of it - you are paying for a piece of paper degree that maybe wasn't fully earned.

 

Regardless of how old I am - I will always believe that one needs to show up and participate to earn the reward.

 

How it was done when I was in school was pretty successful and I think my class is pretty smart and made good PAs.

 

Online students could be watching Breaking Bad reruns and googling info and getting homework from somewhere else. It will show when they get to clinicals but isn't fair to those of us who take the time to teach.

 

Medicine is hands on and the art of listening. You cannot accomplish that without being in the classroom.

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"Presentation" of information has changed.

 

How the human brain utilizes it really hasn't.

 

Just because something is shiny and fast and sparkly doesn't mean the human brain does anything better with it.

 

All your "best" stuff is just shiny. Yes, research has changed the content but the presentation isn't the end all be all.

 

Information is junk until assimilated and utilized in a reasonable and intelligent fashion.

 

Give me a book and a pad of paper - I will learn. Give me a well SPOKEN lecture and I will learn. 

 

The newest computer driven car is only as good as it runs. It breaks down on the side of the road and it is a computer issue.

An old Ford pickup has moving parts that are easier to fix.

 

Be careful what you ask for. 

The human brain doesn't need shiny technology to advance.

 

Just gonna leave this here for you to read at your leisure: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152471/

 

"Traditional models of classroom-based learning as dominant training model no longer meet the current needs of health care institutions"

 

It's an intro to a series of articles with data that demonstrates the exact opposite of what you're arguing. Feel free to dive in past the intro if you need more convincing.

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Hey Doug 

I don't get paid.

I volunteer......

 

 

Ok...I'm sure your program appreciates that a lot. But it doesn't change the fact that the students are paying a whole lot of money and are, in my mind at least, the customers.

 

 

 

 

I precept because I care.

I teach because I am good at it and it can be fun.

 

 

 

I understand this sentiment...I taught paramedics for a couple of years. I got paid, but I did it mostly because I enjoyed it. But this is still bringing it back to ourselves. We've got to remember that the student is the focus of this whole thing. If I had fun, had a power trip, or wowed a crowd with my brilliance and eloquence, it's completely useless if the students don't learn. And if there's a better way for the student to learn, then by all means he/she should take advantage of it. One thing I came to grips with a while back is that no matter how much I enjoy it, lecture is actually a pretty low-yield instructional method. 

 

 

If you pay for an education and do not take full advantage of it - you are paying for a piece of paper degree that maybe wasn't fully earned.

 

 

 

Oh, I agree. But honestly, how many PA students these days would put themselves through a grueling admissions/selection process and then shell out $100k for school, only to take anything less than full advantage of the education? My guess is not very many at all. We're talking about a very smart, conscientious group of people. 

 

 

Regardless of how old I am - I will always believe that one needs to show up and participate to earn the reward.

 

It doesn't matter old you are. Your opinions aren't any more valid simply because of your age, nor are they any less valid. As for showing up, that's easy. I'm less interested in a person's ability to sit in a chair than in his or her mastery of the material. Showing up really should be a very small part of "earning the reward". I have two degrees and have only had 16 hours in live, in-person classes. By your standard, I must not have earned the reward. But I did. I worked very, very hard and mastered some fairly difficult material. I just didn't do it in their building. 

 

 

 

 

 

How it was done when I was in school was pretty successful and I think my class is pretty smart and made good PAs.

 

 

 

I have no doubt that this is true. I also bet that there were "old-timers" out there saying that you can't learn medicine the way you were doing it...and that you'd never be any good for patients. But they were wrong, of course.  If we've learned nothing else, hopefully we've seen that there may be more than one way to achieve a particular result. 

 

Online students could be watching Breaking Bad reruns and googling info and getting homework from somewhere else. It will show when they get to clinicals but isn't fair to those of us who take the time to teach.

 

 

Again, I don't know of anyone who would do what it takes to get into PA school only to suddenly change his/her habits and become a lazy, mediocre student who is so disinterested in learning that he/she spends school time watching a TV show. But if a person did that, I'm guessing that he/she would fail some exams, fail at clinical education, fail the PANCE, and have only him/herself to blame. 

 

 

Medicine is hands on and the art of listening. You cannot accomplish that without being in the classroom.

 

I think the second sentence is wrong. But I can't prove it and we're not going to change any minds here, anyway. We'll just have to wait and see. 

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