By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Today, we wanted to take a break from our usual programming in order to recognize Tina Gary, the Surgical Technology Program Coordinator at the Terry Campus, on her recent reception of the Didactic Educator of the Year Award from the Association of Surgical Technologists, a national organization.

This award goes to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the education of surgical technologists in the classroom. Recipients are recognized for their commitment to the profession of surgical technology and to the advancement of educational standards resulting in high quality patient care.

Tina’s strength in the classroom takes many forms, but one that is particularly worthy of recognition on this blog is her commitment to problem-based learning, an instructional strategy that she employs daily. Problem-based learning (or PBL) is an active learning strategy in which students learn discrete skills within the context of solving more complex problems.

In Tina’s classes, students are presented with realistic patient scenarios before they learn the underlying clinical concepts. By searching for realistic answers to Tina’s guiding questions, students discover the requisite knowledge in the midst of real-world application–all the while also developing self-direction, self-appraisal, problem-solving, and teamwork skills necessary for success in the workplace.

I have blogged about problem-based learning in the past, and I know how much work it can involve from the instructor. I also know that this work is worth it. PBL breeds exciting lessons, engaging classrooms, and–most importantly–students who can think critically. Those students go on to become critical thinkers in the workplace, and I’m sure that we can all agree that critical thinking is an integral part of every surgery team.

Please join me in congratulating Tina Gary!

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