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Teaching Philosophy Statement for Laura Lamb, Ph.D.

I feel like I am trying to drink from a fire hose.

This feeling of information overload, along with the stresses of the financial cost of education, pressure to score well, work-life balance as well as a multitude of other factors comprise of baggage that can impede students’ ability to learn. This is especially true for medical students, who may be accustomed to undergraduate success, and now pushing the boundaries of their skills and knowledge are in an unsettling position of not being able to do it all. As such, students are quick to look for “the answer” rather than invest in learning the underlying biological concepts and mechanisms that are the connections between diverse causes and effects in medicine. It is important to teach students how to apply knowledge rather than just seek to memorize facts. This requires creating an open environment for active learning and critical thinking, while keeping the end goal in mind. This puts students in the correct mindset to determine the best diagnosis and treatment for patients later on. Furthermore, I strongly believe that teachers should inspire students to be lifelong learners, critical since medicine is constantly changing especially in this golden era of new discoveries and information. Thus, I would structure courses designed to help students understand the underlying biological principles, how to critically evaluate the scientific and medical literature, and how research findings will affect them when they practice medicine. However, while this is the goal, it is important to know that this may not work for all students all the time, so I include mnemonics when possible, such as “PVT TIM HALL” to recall the single letter...

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...hange on specific health issues in the community.

I have a strong passion for teaching and continually seek to gain additional teaching expertise by participating in workshops through the Teaching Center at Washington University, and also through the National Science Foundation-funded Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL). I continue to challenge myself to grow as both a scientist and a teacher. I believe that by incorporating both these skill sets, I can best prepare myself to address the needs of my students and to prepare them to not only understand the fascinating biology that is all around them, but also to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners who can translate the skill sets learned in my classroom to wherever their passion lies.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. - William Butler Yeats