Internal Medicine

About Education

Education in the Division of MedicineIntroduction

With regard to education, our clients are:

Undergraduate and postgraduate medical students of the Faculty

Both groups require a combination of academic education and practical vocational training. The two are often in tension, and a balance has to be found between them.

Other postgraduate professionals and colleagues

Here we include our postgraduate courses and CPD activities for qualified health practitioners from various disciplines.

Students in the sciences

This is directed towards undergraduate and postgraduate students in the sciences particularly, who come to us for their Honours, Masters or Doctoral training.

Ethos of Education

We believe that education cannot be left to take place by itself without reference to educational theory, as has traditionally been the case with medical curricula. Accordingly, we endeavour to meet the following ideals in planning, delivering and evaluating our educational programmes.


All our courses are carefully planned, reviewed and evaluated. Planning begins with a detailed exposition of expected outcomes, followed by a decision on the assessment modalities required to assess those outcomes, leading thereafter to the actual planning of the teaching and learning programme.


Outcomes, assessment and teaching are aligned. Once we know what it is we wish our students to achieve by the end of the course, we ensure that our assessments accurately reflect this, and that our teaching supports this.


Expected outcomes and the reasoning behind the selection of specific modalities of both assessment and teaching/learning are made clear to both students and teachers.

Educational Defensibility

We endeavour to keep abreast of modern trends in medical education, and to ensure that our assessment and teaching/learning methodologies are appropriate and effective.


We commit ourselves to a high educational standard in terms of course planning, assessment and teaching.

How We Learn and Teach

Principles of Education

Our learning programmes are based on the principles of active, experiential, self-directed adult learning. These four principles are defined and described more fully here.

Development of Clinical Expertise

Our programmes are based on the premise that expertise cannot be taught, but arises out of:

  1. Experience
  2. “Effortful practice”

Thus all our vocational training is directed principally to promoting meaningful experience: (which equates to immersion in a clinical setting, doing all that doctors are expected to do), and to ensuring effortful practice (which entails that students are required to work at problem solving themselves, and are not merely exposed passively to patients and patient settings.)

Relations Between Teacher and Learner

In the Division of Medicine, we aspire to move beyond the teacher-learner, staff-student dichotomy. Relations are governed by the principal of collegiality. We as staff are senior, more-experienced colleagues; registrars are less senior, less-experienced colleagues and medial students are junior, even-less-experienced colleagues. We teach by example, and by inspiring our junior colleagues to aspire to our own knowledge, skills and attitudes. We treat our registrars and students with all the respect due to professional colleagues, and expect no more courtesy or respect from them than we are prepared to extend to them.

Education by humiliation has no part in our teaching. Our attitudes and behaviour, spoken or unspoken, are such as to promote self-confidence and a sense of self-worth in our registrars and students, and such as to encourage them to participate fully in our activities without fear of the consequences. Intimidation and fear have no place in our teaching and learning.

Race, gender, language and religion are irrelevant in terms of what our students can expect from us.