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Maria Walker of Resurrection University discusses the role of culture in education

Maria Walker

Describe your specialty and how you made the decision to work in the health field as a career?

What attracted me to this field was early in my education, I had an instructor and she was very intimidating and she pushed us and she pushed us. And I could remember that before clinicals during class she would always take her office keys and she would hold them up and she would jingle them and she would say ‘which one of you all is going to come and take these keys from me when I retire?’ And I vowed early on then that it would be me.

What role does culture play in the learning process?

Learning should be student centered, it should be engaging, interactive. It should be open for discussions. Learning, the learning environment should also foster a reciprocal learning process or collaborative learning process, one where the student and the faculty are co-learners.

Every term, every semester I am dealing with students and working with students from multiple and varied backgrounds. It’s had a positive impact on learning. In almost every class that we teach here, we discuss cultural awareness and who better to discuss the culture than someone from that culture.

Discuss the learning environment at Resurrection University.

This is our simulation center. We bring our students here to practice on our ‘sim men’ which have real life features. We allow them to practice here first before we take them into the actual clinical setting. Before they come here, they have theory and in theory they learn about the different functions and how the body functions and specifically I’ll just start with the basics of vital signs and just basic assessments of a human being.

What three factors make a great educator?

A great educator is one that is encouraging, motivating, nurturing, mentoring, one that sets examples, explains with detail student expectations but one that also understands that students have expectations as well and that we need to come to class prepared. We need to be able to and willing to make changes and adapt based on student feedback, which will in turn help meet the needs of the different learning styles.