|Educational Handbook for Health Personnel (WHO - OMS, 1998, 392 p.)|
The presentation and layout of this Handbook are unusual.
It should be stressed at this point that the approaches suggested in this book are the result of a deliberate choice by the author and reflect his ideas in the field of education: they focus on individual and community health needs, while at the same time placing students in an active learning environment and making them the architects of their own education. Various theories sometimes regarded as contradictory are explained to the reader so as to give him food for reflection, rather than to subject him to any philosophical constraint. It is for the reader to make his choice, to draw initial conclusions and, in particular, to seek solutions for his own teaching problems by taking what is worth using among the various theoretical approaches suggested. To reject them wholesale would hardly be constructive; it would be preferable to propose better ones.
For each chapter a list of objectives is included to give you an idea of what you will get out of the chapter.
The theoretical input is presented in the form of original documents or short quotations from texts listed in the bibliography.
All through the Handbook there are exercises to help you to determine whether you have increased your skills (see check list).
Certain documents are printed in large type so that they can be easily made into transparencies for use with an overhead projector (see technique on page 3.46).
The page numbering is also unorthodox: every chapter begins with a number ending in 01 (for example page 3.01 is the first page of the third chapter), however many pages there may be in the previous chapter. This makes it easier to find a specific passage in the Handbook.
Rather than try to explain the whys and wherefores of this unusual layout, which some find irritating and complicated at first, and others as intriguing as a detective story, it seems simpler to invite you to use this book just as it is. You will then draw your own conclusions as to the reasons for its layout. There must be some... even if the author is not aware of them all!
In any case you are warned not to read this Handbook like a conventional book, starting with the first page and hoping to get to the last. It is meant to be used as determined by the questions you put to yourself, your needs, and the teaching problems that bother you - by your own objectives, in short, whether or not they are already articulated.
This is why we are going to try and help you in this essential but unusual and therefore difficult undertaking.
First situation: you are alone (on a desert island) or else you are accustomed and prefer to work alone. You are going to need grit, perseverance and 35 to 50 hours of free time.
Second situation: a colleague also has the Handbook and agrees to work with you. It will not be such an uphill task. If you can get together a small working group of five persons, still better.
Third situation: you are taking part in an educational workshop. The working methods for such a meeting are described in this Handbook and group dynamics will do the rest.
In any case, the first thing to do is to identify your needs.
You are invited to proceed in three stages.