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The goals of medical education are to provide students and graduate clinicians specific facts and information, to teach strategies for applying this knowledge appropriately to the situations that arise in medical practice, and to encourage the development of skills necessary to acquire new knowledge over a lifetime of practice. Students must learn about physiological processes and must understand the relationships between their observations and these underlying processes. They must learn to perform medical procedures, and they must understand the effects of different interventions on health outcomes. Also, the student must learn “softer” skills and knowledge, such as interpersonal and interviewing skills and the ethics of medical care. Medical school faculty employs a variety of strategies for teaching, ranging from the one-way, lecture-based transmission of information to the interactive, Socratic method of instruction. In general, we can view the teaching process as the presentation of a situation or a body of facts that contains the essential knowledge that students should learn; the explanations of what the important concepts and
relationships are, how they can be derived, and why they are important; and the strategy for guiding interaction with a patient.