By Dan Limmer
There are times when I personally need to be reminded that simple is good. Sometimes very good. In EMS education we have many high-tech tools in our toolbox (think simulation manikins) and tend to lean toward the tech and flash. Let’s not forget the simple everyday exercises that have a different approach but a high yield as far as learning.
Making Sentences for EMS Learning
Our Making Sentences dynamic learning exercise (DLE) is an example of how small exercises can yield big results. This DLE was developed because I taught high school EMT courses but it could be done in any class at any level.
The concept is to distribute a word to a student and ask them to make a sentence that tells some clinical fact or relevance about the word. This DLE uses trauma as a foundation but it could be used in any lesson or module in any EMS curriculum.
You can assign a word or words to individual students or groups. Groups often have a more creative dynamic. The key with any of our DLEs is in the facilitation.
We’ve tested this in classes and found that some students make very simple sentences while others practically build a giant run-on sentence with a scenario. These reflect the student’s knowledge, effort, and personality but all contributions are welcome. Why? Because each time a student reads their sentence, two things happen. First, other students hear the sentence and this acts as a review. The second thing is that the educator is given an opportunity to expand on any sentence. Use the sentence as a teachable moment and expand it. Provide additional relevance. Bring it home.
EMS Documentation Practice
Many of our DLEs have benefits in more than one area. Use this DLE this as practice for documentation as well. Instruct the students to use the word in a sentence or sentences they would use when completing a patient care report. Have the students turn in their work. Provide feedback on grammar and structure. Unfortunately, many of our students need that guidance because they were underprepared by secondary education. Many also believe that slang or messaging language can be used in official documentation (LOL).
As always, please report back when you use this or any of our dynamic exercises.