Near Peer Teaching in Pathology Practical Training- An Experimental Pilot Study
Dr. Sathish Selva Kumar,
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, ESIC Medical College and PGIMSR,
KK Nagar, Chennai-78, Tamil Nadu, India.
Introduction: Medical education requires teaching methods with student centric approach to train our Indian Medical Graduates (IMG) enabling them to perform the roles of a clinician, communicator, leader, lifelong learner and a professional. Near Peer Teaching (NPT) or Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is one such method where peers who are not professional teachers belonging to similar social grouping and academic training helps each other to learn and also learn by teaching.
Aim: To use the concept of NPT as an alternative teaching method in undergraduate pathology practical training and evaluate its effectiveness on the learners in comparison with the traditional teaching by Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) and its acceptance among the participating students through feedback.
Materials and Methods: In this experimental pilot study was conducted at ESIC Medical College and PGIMSR, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, for a period of three months (June-August 2019) 22 students who were allotted to the faculty for pathology practical sessions were divided into two groups- the regular (group A) and interventional (group B). The regular group was taught by faculty while in the other group the students were taught about the peer teaching principles and were made as tutors and tutees alternatively, until the intended spotters were completed in the 10 intended sessions over a period of three months. At the end of the study, all the students’ assessment was done by OSPE and their feedback regarding the new method was obtained. Descriptive statistics and independent t-test (95% confidence interval) were used. The statistical significance was considered at the level p<0.05. The students’ feedback was charted as percentage of responses.
Results: Students’ OSPE test scores of all the stations were better among the NPT group than the traditional method group with statistically significant difference observed in the slide identification spotter station (group A, 21.7±7.1 vs group B, 15.3±5.5, p<0.05). Majority of the students’ response about NPT as a teaching method in pathology practical training sessions was positive especially with regard to providing a cordial learning environment (100% agreed), improved understanding (91.7% agreed) and retention of the topic (100% agreed). They also felt that the method will help to improve their communication skills, teaching skills and motivate towards self-directed learning. NPT can be used as an interactive Teaching Learning Method (TLM) in faculty resource poor settings.
Conclusion: The NPT in pathology practical session is a simple, potent and a practical teaching method, with better results than the traditional teaching method. The method has been preferred and well accepted by undergraduate medical students in the present study.