The Teacher

It will come as no surprise that one of the four roles in my book is the role of teacher. Every physiotherapist regularly explains things to his patients.

The role of the teacher you fulfill as a physiotherapist conjures up a classic picture.
A picture from our own childhood memory, namely that of our own teachers.
Our own teachers were narrating, explaining, teaching and educating.

These teachers were active, we as students passive.
We were listening, passively. They were talking and ‘at work’.

Modern teacher

However, the physiotherapist as a teacher is a modern one.
A teacher who applies modern learning strategies.
Not a teacher who necessarily wants to deliver his own story, but someone who tries to tell the story with which he really helps the client.
And that’s a different art!

the physio as a teacher is a modern one

But be honest: how much knowledge and skills do you have in providing education?
How much training did you receive in this area in your basic training as a physiotherapist?
And how many courses have you taken to provide the best possible education to patients?
How many strategies do you have for teaching or explaining to people?
And how purposefully (and consciously) do you deploy these strategies?

If I ask this to a group of PT’s, for example during a congress keynote or a workshop I provide, the answer is always the same.
Not very much….if any?!

So it’s time to change this.
First, develop your education skills to be a modern teacher.
Then educate your patients.

Helping by education

The role of a modern teacher is mainly about helping someone to understand, helping to see through, helping to experience and feel.
This requires interaction so that the patient becomes active and therefore learns more.
Interaction arises, for example, by asking questions (especially ‘open-ended questions’ like a competent coach and detective is often using) and making your patient curious.

Asking the right questions is probably the most important skills for a teacher.

By doing this, you make the patient part of the story.
Your questions make the patient think and/or feel.
As a result, the patient knows more, understands better, remembers more, experiences and feels more.

So, a good starting point would be to start using more questions when you want someone to learn something.
Try to ask in the direction you want to go, you want someone to learn.
And connect to daily experiences of someone.