Do educators need educating?

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I was recently at the Spanish College of Optometry biennial conference and attended a meeting of contact lens lecturers from around Spain and Portugal. We discussed various ideas, mainly about how to share good practice and improve standards. What came to my mind was ‘is there a blueprint for training trainers?’ Well probably not but there are many things that we need to acknowledge such as the way students learn for example. Many educators themselves were taught by lecturers who would write on a blackboard or use acetate on an overhead projector, then came the 35 mm slide era followed by the Powerpoint era. More recently there is a move towards a much more integrated approach of various teaching methods. At my university our contact lens and anterior eye lectures generally follow a format where a narrated Powerpoint lecture is uploaded onto our internal virtual learning environment. This narrated version of the slides is designed to give the didactic element of the topic. The students listen to that before attending an interactive seminar on that topic. The seminar is also recorded so that students can listen to that afterwards. The seminar is designed to give additional information, such as case reports, or to clarify key points or for live demonstrations. It is a good way of doubling the contact time with the students without imposing further on an already packed formal timetable as the students can work in their own time. One problem that we noticed with this approach was that attendance can vary. If the students feel that they will gain something from the interactive seminar then they are more likely to attend – exam tips usually win them over!

At the Spanish meeting the educators decided that they wanted to have regular meetings. The industry colleagues in attendance said that they were happy to help but could not necessarily give money, but they could offer meeting rooms, pay for lunch and evening meals. They even said that that they were happy to host meetings and invite other companies too (except to manufacturing plants). In the UK the British Committee of Contact Lens Educators (BUCCLE) meets for one day on three occasions in the year. The American Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) meets annually at a three day event. Both these organisations get some help from industry. BUCCLE usually has one of its meetings at a university, one at a company training centre/manufacturing plant/national headquarters and one meeting the day before the BCLA annual conference. BUCCLE usually has its pre-BCLA meeting in conjunction with the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE). So when educators meet what would they discuss; well probably the focus should be on education rather than actual contact lens knowledge. For example sharing ideas on how to teach toric lens fitting would be better than discussing the actual topic of toric lenses itself. Most universities will have an education department with an expert who could share ideas on how to use the internet in teaching or how to structure lectures or assessments etc. In the past I have helped with similar training programmes in other countries and sharing good practice in pedagogy is always a popular topic. Anyone who is involved in education in the field of contact lenses should look at the IACLE web page and look out for the IACLE World Congress in 2015 in the days preceding the BCLA. Finally, IACLE, AOCLE and BUCCLE all exist as a result of generous educational grants from contact lens companies and anyone interested in finding out more about should refer to their respective web pages.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13
Number of pages1
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Volume37
Issue number3
Early online date6 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

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© 2014, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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