National Conference on Health Professions Education 2014

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This paper was presented by me at the National Conference on Health Professions Education in Bangladesh on June 26, 2014 at Institute of Public Health (IPH) Conference Hall, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The conference was organized by Association of Medical Education (AME), Bangladesh and Center for Medical Education (CME); and supported by World Health Organization (WHO).

Sub Topic – Pedagogy
Title – Applying Euclid’s Idea in Teaching-Learning of Biological Sciences: A Proposal
Presenter – Saumitra Chakravarty, Resident, Department of Pathology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

In general, we tend to learn geometry and biology in radically different ways. The former is always rigorous, linearly structured and quite straightforward in its deductive reasoning. On the other hand, the latter is sometimes vaguely expressed, non-linear and mostly shadowy in terms of reasoning techniques. But a closer look reveals that these differences are only apparent. The logical structure used by Euclid to organize geometric data into his famous compilation ‘Elements’ can be helpful when organizing biological data as well. We implicitly use his so-called ‘axiomatic hierarchical’ design in teaching-learning of biological sciences. My proposal is to make this implicit approach explicit, so that the students can get an essence of logical rigor while studying biological sciences. This would promote a holistic and integrated understanding, which is essential in building their ability to effectively analyze the available information so that they are able to precisely identify gaps and synthesize knowledge from it. A few words of caution and clarification are essential though. This axiomatic hierarchical design is not equally applicable in all areas of biological sciences, especially where there is an abundance of feedback loops, making linear approximation of a non-linear phenomenon quite impracticable. But then again, no model is accurate but some are useful. Meaningful research is warranted on the current proposal before making any conclusive remark.

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