It’s one thing to teach 8th graders about the human body, and another to study it yourself in medical school. When Brian Argus, a science teacher at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, MA, was considering a career change, he knew he’d need some help. In addition to shadowing doctors in local hospitals, Brian thought HMX courses would be a good way to get back into an academic frame of mind.
What appealed to you about HMX courses?
As a biology major in college, I took physiology, genetics, and biochemistry – I hadn’t taken immunology before, so that’s what drew me specifically to that course. And physiology, I always find it interesting, and it was also a good general brush-up. Watching a few of the intro videos that explained it, I liked what I saw.
What aspects of the courses did you find most useful?
I like the combination of the concept videos and the scenarios. The scenarios seem like the buzzword and the snazzy thing, but you have to have good concept videos before you can get to them. So I thought those were necessarily good, and then all the scenarios and [clinical application videos] were what put it over the edge as a really good program.
I really like the physiology notetaking guides. Because there’s the vocab at the beginning, which I think is always good to have. Then each video had notes, but then underneath just the general video notes, you also had the key questions for the video. Before I’d go to the next video, I wouldn’t necessarily type it all in, but I’d ask myself, ‘can I answer this question’? If I can’t answer that question, I’d go back and watch it again, or go back and watch that section of it. Having those right after each video instead of in a big long clump at the end was good.
Was there anything else you particularly liked?
I thought the cath lab videos [in HMX Physiology] were cool. I appreciated being able to watch the physician-patient interaction and see what’s going on, and see that dialogue. What does the patient understand [and] how does the patient feel about it?
Did you see any parallels with how you teach this material?
Yes, starting with the real-world applications – [asking students] what’s happening in this scenario, and then using that as the launching point. What kinds of questions do we have, what systems of the body are involved? Ok, now let’s go learn about them so we can answer it effectively. I look at some of the ways these lessons have been structured, and I think to myself, I’m going to teach in a similar manner to what I saw.
How did your HMX experience affect your feelings about attending medical school in the near future?
I liked seeing the material – I know that it’s not the speed and the intensity of being in medical school, but seeing those basics again, seeing the terminology, just made me more comfortable with the idea of being in school again with a bunch of people who may have come straight through and so all of this stuff is fresh in their minds. I won’t be feeling like I’m the old guy who hasn’t been in the room for a while.