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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 127-130

Scope of integrated teaching in a medical college: A study from South India


1 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institution, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India
3 Department of Microbiology, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India
4 Department of General Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India

Date of Web Publication20-Apr-2017

Correspondence Address:
T Muthukumar
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institution, Ammapettai, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_98_16

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  Abstract 

Background: Medical schools all over India mainly have lectures as the most widely used teaching and learning methods. Current medical education imparts knowledge in a disjointed manner and does not allow students to develop the skills to perceive the patient as a whole. There is a need to teach the students by correlating the various subjects to create interest and promote active learning. Aim: This study was conducted to find out the scope of integrated teaching in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Setting and Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a medical college in the coastal region of South India. Methodology: Objectives that are to be achieved by the end of the integrated teaching were clearly drafted, a detailed lesson plan was drafted and was circulated among the faculty and students, and it was decided that the integrated teaching would be conducted in coordination between Department of General Medicine, Department of Microbiology, and Department of Community Medicine. Statistical Analysis: Collected data were entered into MS Excel, and analysis was done using SPSS software. The students' feedback of the session was assessed using Likert scale. Results and Conclusion: The pre- and post-test scores showed that there was statistically extremely significant increase in the knowledge. Overall, 56.7% (38) students gave a feedback of very good for the integrated teaching on a whole. This method is an improvisation in the teaching methods to meet the expectations of the students and to improve the quality of teaching and has the ability to make the teaching–learning process more effective.

Keywords: Curriculum, integrated, Likert scale, microbiology, undergraduate


How to cite this article:
Muthukumar T, Konduru RK, Manikandan M, Asir J, Iqbal N, Bazroy J, Purty AJ, Singh Z. Scope of integrated teaching in a medical college: A study from South India. J Med Soc 2017;31:127-30

How to cite this URL:
Muthukumar T, Konduru RK, Manikandan M, Asir J, Iqbal N, Bazroy J, Purty AJ, Singh Z. Scope of integrated teaching in a medical college: A study from South India. J Med Soc [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Oct 20];31:127-30. Available from: https://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2017/31/2/127/204833


  Introduction Top


The medical curriculum is vast, and students are expected to learn many subjects at the same time. The teachers are also involved in a number of activities apart from teaching such as research, administrative, and updating their knowledge. In doing so, teaching undergraduate medical students frequently remains a separate academic department without integration to interrelate or unify subjects. Medical schools all over India mainly have lectures as the most widely used teaching and learning methods. Furthermore, the classroom is getting larger due to students numbering more than 100 and the students' participation remains a challenge.

Hence, current medical education imparts knowledge in a disjointed manner and does not allow students to develop the skills to investigate, analyze, and prepare to perceive the patient as a whole. The traditional didactic lectures are no longer accepted by the students. Innovation to use interactive teaching methods in a large classroom is necessary to engage students in a useful way. The primary mode of delivery has been shifted to more student-centered approach to deliver the core knowledge with sound concepts of the subject.[1]

This method of self-directed learning will make the teaching and learning process more interactive, effective, and student friendly. The term integration in education means coordination in the teaching–learning activities to ensure the harmonious functioning of the educational processes.[2] Integrated thinking offers the capacity to individualize.[3]

There is a need to teach the students by correlating the various subjects to create interest and promote active learning. This can be achieved by teaching the same topic in sequence manner from different faculty members of different departments. The shifting of the teaching from independent to interdependent is required to avoid repetition of the same subject by different departments, and the entire faculty can come together for the benefits of the students.

Medical education all over the world recognizes that the integration in medical education is one of the major education reforms required. The Medical Council of India also strongly recommended integration in undergraduate medical education. The purpose of integration is to increase the effectiveness of teaching–learning process.

The advantages of integrated teaching over traditional lectures are:[4]

  • Integrated teaching reduces fragmentation of medical courses
  • Prevents repetition and waste of time
  • Students learn to apply their knowledge to clinical practice
  • Promotes interdepartmental collaboration
  • Rationalization of teaching resources.


This concept is adopted in this project. The Department of Community Medicine in the institution has maintained a dynamic approach toward its teaching. This study was conducted to find out the scope of integrated teaching in the undergraduate medical curriculum.


  Methodology Top


Scrub typhus is relatively a rare clinical condition reported in Pondicherry. Furthermore, it is frequently misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. Keeping in mind the public health importance, the Department of Community Medicine selected the topic “Scrub typhus,” to be taught to 6th-semester medical students using the integrated teaching method, with a goal of not only imparting theoretical knowledge to medical students but also ensure that students apply their knowledge to clinical practice. The Head of the Department assigned a faculty in charge for the integrated teaching, and an intradepartmental meeting was convened to chalk out the plan of action.

Objectives that are to be achieved by the end of the integrated teaching were clearly drafted, after taking into consideration all the inputs and suggestions of the faculty. A detailed lesson plan was drafted and was circulated among the faculty for any corrections and further refinements. It was decided that the integrated teaching would be conducted in coordination with Department of General Medicine and Department of Microbiology along with Department of Community Medicine.

Different topics related to scrub typhus were dealt as follows:

  1. Epidemiology - Department of Community Medicine
  2. Clinical Features and Management - Department of General Medicine
  3. Laboratory investigation and Diagnosis - Department of Microbiology
  4. Prevention and Control Measures - Department of Community Medicine.


A real case report of scrub typhus was circulated among the students, and they were instructed to go through the case report thoroughly and also read about the different topics related to scrub typhus before attending the integrated teaching. The approach to students during the integrated teaching was case stimulated interactive lectures.

Students were encouraged repeatedly to participate in the discussion actively. Students were assured that every doubt put forward would be cleared and no doubts would be considered silly. They were also assured that no evaluation would be done based on the kind of doubts that they ask. Discussions between students and faculty were encouraged during the sessions also. This ensured an active participation from the students and improved their reasoning ability.

Students were explained regarding the study, and their consent was obtained before the beginning of the session. Clearance from the institutional research was obtained.

Data analysis

The data were analyzed using appropriate statistical test. Comparison of pre- and post-teat marks was done using paired t-tests. P value from 0.01 to 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant, and P < 0.0001 was considered as statistically extremely significant.


  Results Top


A total of 68 students attended the session, out of which 63% (43) were males and 37% (25) were females.

On comparing the pre- and post-test scores, it was observed that there was statistically extremely significant increase in the knowledge about scrub typhus among the students [Table 1].
Table 1: Assessment of students regarding the topic

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The students' feedback of the session was assessed using Likert scale. Feedback was obtained regarding various aspects of the session such as achievements of objective, interest of the audience, time management, interaction with students, and appropriate use of Audiovisual aid. Overall, 56.7% (38) students gave a feedback of very good for the integrated teaching on a whole and 25.4% (17) of students rated the session as excellent [Table 2].
Table 2: Ranking of various parameters of integrated teaching (n=68)

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All parameters used in the feedback got good rating on Likert scale, i.e., a score of 3 and above from the students.


  Discussion Top


Till the 1970s, the medical subjects were taught in such a manner that every subject is different from another, and one subject's teacher being totally unaware and unconcerned about the topics taught in other subjects. By doing so, the knowledge acquired by the students was piecemeal.[5] Later, it was realized that fusion of knowledge from different disciplines was very much needed, and to the concept of integrated teaching was evolved. Integrated teaching is a relatively new teaching–learning method which cuts across the subject matter lines and brings focus on broad areas of study, which is interactive and motivates the students to learn how to solve the real problems.[6]

In the present study, a total of 68 students participated in integrated teaching. In a study conducted by Khan, a total of seventy students participated which is similar to the present study. The present study and the study done by Khan are similar sample wise, but their methodologies are different. The present study is a cross-sectional study, whereas the study done by Khan is a comparative study (the effectiveness of integrated teaching versus the traditional lecture method).

In the study done by Khan, the participants were 1st-year MBBS students, and the topic selected for integrated teaching was from physiology, whereas in the present study, the participants from final MBBS Phase I and the topic selected was a real case scenario and was of public health importance.[7] The integrated teaching is defined as “Organization of teaching matter to interrelate or unify subjects frequently taught in separate academic courses or departments.”[8]

In the present study, it was observed that due to the integrated teaching, there was a statistically extremely significant increase in the knowledge on the selected topic, i.e., scrub typhus on comparison of pre- and post-test scores. These results were found to be similar to the studies done by Mausumi Basu et al., Vyas et al., and Stalin et al.[9],[10]

In the present study, feedback was obtained from the students about integrated teaching covering various aspects such as achievements of objectives, proper time management, appropriate use of audiovisual aids, and interactions with students by faculty. The feedback from the student was positive with the majority of them rating it as very good on Likert scale, similar to the study by Vyas et al. and Stalin et al.

Limitations of the study:

  1. The study was done in a small group (68 students). Study may be repeated in a larger group or in a few groups to increase the validity of the study and confirm the importance of integrated teaching in the medical curriculum
  2. Maintenance of the motivation and enthusiasm among the students remains a challenge for the faculty/moderators and so, a great level of dedication and planning is needed from the faculty.



  Conclusion Top


The results of the present study show that students prefer integrated teaching method and it is effective. Integrated teaching is an interactive teaching–learning session which can bring together various departments and ideas. This method is an improvisation in the teaching method to meet the expectations of the students and to improve the quality of teaching. This method will make the teaching and learning process more effective and student friendly.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Bhuiyan P, Supe A, Rege N. The Art of Teaching Medical Students. Vol. 2. New Delhi: Elsevier Health Sciences; 2015. p. 305-12.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Barr RB, Tagg J. From teaching to learning – A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change: Mag High Learn 1995;27:12-26.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Jain BS. Integrated Medical Education: A Must for Homeopathic Colleges and Homeopaths in the Making. Available from: http://www.hpathy.com/ezine/2009july.asp. [Last accessed on 2016 Dec 29].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Nagdeo N. Integrated teaching. J Educ Technol Health Sci 2014;1:23-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Bapat SK, Jha N. Medical education – Changing perspectives. Kathmandu Univ Med J (KUMJ) 2005;3:159-64.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Uma P, Rajani K, Usha P. Student's perception about integrated teaching in an undergraduate medical curriculum. Indian J Basic Appl Med Res 2015;4:47-52.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Khan SM. Integrated teaching: A new approach in medical teaching. J Evol Med Dent Sci 2014;3:12939-45.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Joglekar S, Bhuiyan PS, Kishore S. Integrated teaching – Our experience. J Postgrad Med 1994;40:231-2.  Back to cited text no. 8
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9.
Vyas R, Jacob M, Faith M, Isaac B, Rabi S, Sathishkumar S, et al. An effective integrated learning programme in the first year of the medical course. Natl Med J India 2008;21:21-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Stalin P, Bazroy J, Singh Z, Divija R, Velavan A, Veerappan I, et al. Evaluation of correlated integrated teaching programme among undergraduate medical students. J Res Med Educ Ethics 2014;4:60-4.  Back to cited text no. 10
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

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Abstract
Introduction
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