Beyond “Teach a Man to Fish”: Communal Meta-cognition as the Key to Sustainable Professional Development.

  • Ken Foster West Parry Sound Health Centre - surgeon, Northern Ontario School of Medicine - assistant professor
Keywords: third world, developing countries, medical training, medical, professional development, communal metacognition, power distance


Improvement in the quality of aid and development in a community requires a feedback loop within the community, known as “communal meta-cognition.” This is relevant to medical education in resource-poor countries and is illustrated with the author’s own surgical experience.  The usual source of truth is unquestioned allegiance to established wisdom rather than the dynamic state that comes through the feedback loop of asking questions, most importantly of one’s self.  Some elements of what this might look like in a medical education context are illustrated.

Author Biography

Ken Foster, West Parry Sound Health Centre - surgeon, Northern Ontario School of Medicine - assistant professor
small town general surgeon after overseas career of two decades.  assistant professor at NOSM


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