2010 Knowledge Building Summer Institute: New Assessments and Environments for Knowledge Building. August 3-6, 2010 - Toronto, Canada

Leading in a Knowledge Society: A Teachers Journey into Medical Education
Zahra Amirali Punja


Overview: Narrative is an effective method to illustrate an autobiography and self-narrative. It is especially effective at highlighting cross cultural connections and enabling female empowerment. The narrative style of writing was used in this story to highlight significant developments which led to the journey of a young teacher into medical education research. It began from small humble experiments in different medical education contexts, namely: pre-clinical, undergraduate medical school, residency training and continuing medical education, to advising leaders and regulators of the medical profession how they can participate in a knowledge society in the Knowledge Age.
Objective: This paper tells a story of a teacher who stumbled her way into medical education, by meeting people, locating opportunities and finding inspiration along the way. This story is my living educational theory.
Methodology: The style of my narrative is supported by an analysis of research conducted by Connelly, Claudinin, Polkinghorne as well as other experts in narrative interspersed. It is a free flowing story starting with excursions to Kenya and Pakistan where the Aga Khan Development Network operates hospitals and universities, higher education opportunities in educational technology and finally work with medical schools across Ontario, Quebec and the New England Area.
Results: Generally speaking, this narrative provides a convincing account of how one can develop a professional identity, set in motion innovations and assert influence on the development of thought in a specialized community through knowledge building processes. Success at becoming an entrepreneur involves social factors (e.g. inspirational/like-minded people, guidance, external motivation) and structural factors (opportunities, pressures) aspects as well as the personal characteristics (personal motivations, determination, willingness to work hard, looking for opportunities).
Recommendations: Students should aspire to do innovative and creative things with knowledge. They should be encouraged to experiment and try new ideas in new fields. When there are no funds to tests ideas, volunteering is a good mechanism to get your foot in the door and get experience and insight into the work of the profession. This will yield paid opportunities in future as well as opportunities to get your name in the field.
Conclusion: Leading in the knowledge society means becoming a knowledge builder. Knowledge building should be taught to all learners in every discipline at any point in their life. The theory and pedagogy holds great merit and is something the society and individual can benefit from.
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