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From Academic Medicine: “Socrates was not a Pimp” (and attendings should not be pimps either)

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Kost, A., and Chen, F.M. (2015) Socrates Was Not a Pimp: Changing the Paradigm of Questioning in Medical Education. Academic Medicine. 90(1) pp20-24.

From the abstract:

“The authors posit that using the term “pimping” to describe questioning in medical education is harmful and unprofessional, and they propose clearly defining pimping as “questioning with the intent to shame or humiliate the learner to maintain the power hierarchy in medical education.”

“Explicitly separating pimping from the larger practice of questioning allows the authors to make three recommendations for improving questioning practices. First, educators should examine the purpose of each question they pose to learners. Second, they should apply historic and modern interpretations of Socratic teaching methods that promote critical thinking skills. Finally, they should consider adult learning theories to make concrete changes to their questioning practices.

“These changes can result in questioning that is more learner centered, aids in the acquisition of knowledge and skills, performs helpful formative and summative assessments of the learner, and improves community in the clinical learning environment.”

This is a great article for medical students, residents and faculty alike, from this month’s Academic Medicine. It talks about purposeful questioning to cultivate proper thinking and meta-cognition, directing questions to a team (rather than an individual) and debriefing on the content and process (reason for asking the question and why the steps in answering are relevant to the issue at hand) and utilizing “Androgogy” or Adult-Centered Learning (as opposed to pedagogy), invoking Bloom’s Taxonomy of Verbs and Miller’s Pyramid of Competence.

(Bloom’s Taxonomy)

(Miller’s Pyramid)



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