Pedagogy for Professional Schools

Decorative: Six visual panels representing various professional schools -- stained glass (divinity), gears (engineering), a balance (law), a caduceus (medicine), a stethoscope (nursing), several charts (business), books, diploma, and mortar board (general graduate studies)


"Pedagogy for Professional Schools and Students" (online article) outlines a broad context for considering "signature pedagogies" -- "characteristic ways of teaching in a discipline that promote 'disciplinary ways of thinking or habits of mind' in students."

  • Warning that "if education focuses squarely on market needs in professional preparation, it will fail to prepare students holistically for thoughtful citizenship and life itself," the article argues that "responsible professional pedagogy must teach the dialogue between theory and practice, rather than simply offer a basic skill-set."
  • "[P]rofessional pedagogy must necessarily include the critical thinking skills of the liberal arts as well as the practical skills necessary to do the job."

Outlining an "arch of formation" from Novice to Expert, the article defines and outlines the "pedagogical needs and limitations" of each stage of professional development (each elaborated in the article):

  • "Novice professional students, due to their limited experience, must use context-free rules to guide their work." 
  • Advanced beginners need help in setting priorities since they operate on general guidelines and are only beginning to perceive recurrent meaningful patterns in their clinical practice.” 
  • "Competent professionals need continuing education by decision-making games and simulations that practice planning and coordinating multiple, complex, and contextualized needs or demands."
  • Proficient performers are best taught by use of case studies where their ability to grasp the situation is solicited and taxed." 
  • "Experts still need skilled analytical ability for new situations... [and] can sometimes have trouble describing their decision-making process because it spans from a deep, intuitive understanding of the situation."
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