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Cognitive style assessment of Indian medical faculty - A step toward achieving cognitive integration in teaching practices

Bhalendu S Vaishnav, Smruti B Vaishnav, Jagdish Varma, Anusha Prabhakaran, Mahendra Chotaliya.

Abstract
Background: Prodigious growth of medical knowledge necessitates pedagogical shift of focus from knowledge-based teaching to metacognitive teaching. Teachers’ knowledge about their cognitive style can be used in implementing practices which synergize the same with medical students’ cognitive styles for the better educational outcome.

Aims and Objectives: The present study was carried out to determine cognitive styles of medical teachers and enhance their awareness about metacognition based teaching practices, with a view to derive logical implications for enhancing teaching-learning process.

Material and Methods: Cognitive style assessment of teachers was carried out using “Alert Scale of Cognitive Style.” Pre-session awareness, post-sensitization awareness, relevance, usefulness, and applicability of cognitive styles were tapped using single Likert- type questions. Analysis was done to know cognitive style preferences, their association with age, gender, handedness, subject specialization, and teaching experience. Faculty members were sensitized about cognitive styles and methods of synthesizing them in teaching.

Results: Of 88 participants studied, left, middle, and right brain cognitive styles were observed in 32%, 56%, and 12%, respectively. Cognitive style was not found associated with any factors. Mean awareness about cognitive styles was 3.6 before the sessions. Post-sensitization mean rating for awareness, relevance, usefulness, and applicability of cognitive style was 6.57, 6.81, 6.89, and 6.73, respectively.

Conclusion: Study significantly enhanced cognitive style awareness, which was low before the intervention. Sensitization sessions helped teachers for orienting them to combining analytical and synthesizing processes in teaching. Cognitive diversity among teachers is an institutional resource for pedagogic interventions.

Key words: Cognitive Style; Medical faculty; Metacognition



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