Book review - Understanding Medical Education

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review


Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory and Practice (Second Edition) edited by Tim Swanwick was commissioned by the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME), a leading research organisation established by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 1957 which focusses on improving the quality of medical education.

The purpose of the book is to provide a relatively concise but comprehensive overview of educational theory and practice and whilst the focus is medical education, the themes are fairly generic and are applicable to clinical education generally and therefore this book is equally applicable to biomedical science education as well as medical education.

Whilst the vast majority of pathologists and biomedical scientists are probably not involved in curriculum design or qualitative education research they are very likely to be involved in teaching, training and supervision to some extent and there is ample practical advice throughout this book with chapters which cover portfolios, workplace based learning, supervision, mentoring and coaching and managing remediation.

Most of us at some point in our careers have to deliver teaching to small groups or lectures to larger audiences, and instructions on how best to deliver these are well presented with useful advice.

For those who find educational jargon like pedagogy, hermeneutics, paradigms, ontology and epistemology confusing they can be reassured that the vast majority of the book is presented in simple terms with practical advice. In addition, for anyone participating in a formal education qualification such as a Masters Degree in Clinical Education, this an ideal reference book.

A chapter on dealing with diversity is very useful as being competent in dealing with issues around differences in language, stereotypes and cultural bias is increasingly important for teachers and trainers. The final chapter covering leadership is particularly useful to those with leadership roles in their organisations.

Overall, this is an accessible and comprehensive resource which pathologists and biomedical scientists involved in teaching and training should find useful.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Specialist publicationThe Bulletin of The Royal College of Pathologists
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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