Lecture Note: “Good Teaching Practices In Ayurveda” (Part-3)


  Good Teaching Practices In Ayurveda (Part-3)  

  Prof Sanjeev Rastogi  
State Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Lucknow

Transcript done by
Dr Prachi Jain,
Jr 1 Dept. of Rachana Sharir,
Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU
Dr Varsha More

based on the lecture available at
Good Teaching Practices In Ayurveda

 Inspire to become curious: ask questions and allow being questioned

Curiosity forms the essence of the teaching activity. Teaching is not just about asking kids questions; it’s primarily about inspiring them to ask questions themselves. The process involves 10% asking questions and 90% encouraging students to be inquisitive. If students don’t ask questions, they may not truly be absorbing the information. Teaching, therefore, is also about fostering curiosity, motivating students to explore the reasons behind everything – why and how things happen, why and how they are written, and why and how they work.

Being curious prompts individuals to seek reasons, encouraging them to understand the underlying mechanisms. On the contrary, if one is merely receptive without curiosity, progress might be limited. As Socrates wisely put it, “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” This underscores the importance of maintaining a curious mindset in the pursuit of knowledge.

  • Make it a dialogue rather than a monologue.
  • Interaction allows a better understanding among the listeners.
  • Interaction allows to know quickly if the message is reaching appropriately.
  • Interaction allows the doubts and queries to be resolved instantly.

So, this should also be the quest of a teacher to promote these kinds of activities, promote the curiosity among the audiences or among the students.

Show the relevance of the knowledge in long term

The best teacher is often your last mistake. Failures can be more instructive than successes. In Ayurveda, it seems imperative at times to share not only the successes but also the failures, adversities, and potential mistakes. Teaching about the possible pitfalls in Ayurveda can be as valuable, if not more, than emphasizing its positive aspects.

Beyond simply passing exams, knowledge should be imparted with a focus on how it can be practically applied in future roles, whether as a clinician, researcher, or teacher. Demonstrating the negative impacts of inappropriate actions can sometimes be more instructive than showcasing the positive impact of appropriate actions. This approach is critical in preparing students for the complexities they may encounter in their professional journey. Now, let me illustrate this point with an example.

Cumulative Toxicity in Ayurveda

We published a report earlier in 2007, addressing the adverse effects of Ayurvedic drugs with a focus on the case of Vatsanabha or aconite overdosing. This case report serves as an important teaching tool to convey to our students that certain Ayurvedic drugs, like Vatsanabha, can have significant adverse effects, emphasizing the importance of caution in their prescription.

Frequently, these drugs are recommended in outpatient departments without a thorough understanding of their formulations. Cumulative toxicity, which involves the total amount of a specific drug in a prescription, is a concept we have discussed with Kishore. It highlights the importance of being aware of the cumulative dosage when multiple formulations are prescribed, as it may unintentionally exceed safety limits.

By explaining real cases like Vatsanabha overdosing, we can impress upon our students the need for caution in recommending these drugs. It prompts them to be mindful of the formulations they prescribe and ensures they understand the potential risks associated with certain medications. This approach is vital in preparing them for the complexities of Ayurvedic practice, urging them to be diligent in their prescriptions to avoid potential difficulties in their future practice.

Demonstrate wherever possible

This is also one good thing about teaching. You need to demonstrate,

  • Practical demonstration the procedures in the lab.
  • Practical demonstration in the Panchakarma settings.
  • Clinical examinations in outpatient and IP sections.
  • Clinical demonstrations in the classrooms on volunteers or real patients. This can very easily be done in the classrooms.
  • Use diverse method of knowledge disseminations, maybe the seminars, the workshops, academic tools, group interactions. A lot of these things can be involved for making demonstrations.
  • Use intelligently newer technology of demonstration and knowledge dissemination. For example, the digital board, PowerPoint, videos, recorded lecture, web-based sources, lot many things.

Inspire to excel

This is Martin Luther King, the famous president of US. His famous speech was saying about that, I have a dream. It’s a very, very famous speech. You can find it over the YouTube. You need to have a dream if you really want to live a better life. You have to have a dream.

A good teacher explains why a great teacher inspires. So, you need to inspire your students to excel.

  • Share your own journey, how you can inspire them. There can be number of methods to inspire them. Share your own journey of earning the credentials, how you have become a teacher, how you have earned the credentials. You can share your own journey.
  • Share your dreams and inspirations. Show what it means to excel, meaning to the individual, meaning to the society, meaning to the patients, meaning to the country. I mean, what is the meaning of the excellence? You can explain this to the students.
  • Inspire to learn from the mistakes.
  • Inspire to learn to appreciate the efforts of the others.
  • Inspire to have a collective wisdom.
  • Inspire to lead.
  • Inspire to take challenges.
  • Inspire to find the solutions rather than complaining about the situation.

It is common in Ayurveda discussions to focus on problems and limitations. However, it is crucial to shift the perspective towards finding solutions rather than merely complaining about challenges. Becoming a solution-oriented individual entails actively seeking ways to address issues, innovate, and contribute positively to the development and advancement of Ayurveda. This proactive approach not only enhances individual understanding but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement within the Ayurvedic community.

Apply equity-based teaching: help those who truly need it

The concept of equality in education is crucial, treating everyone on par. However, it is equally important to recognize that despite equal treatment, individuals may not receive knowledge in the same way. To address this, a more nuanced approach is needed — one based on equity. Equity in sharing knowledge involves identifying those who may need more support and tailoring the educational experience accordingly.

In a classroom, not all students may have the same level of background knowledge or understanding. Therefore, a teacher needs to adopt an equity-based approach, identifying those who may require extra care and attention. By doing so, the teacher can ensure that each student gets the support they need to thrive. This approach acknowledges and addresses individual differences, promoting a fair and just learning environment.

Expand beyond teaching

You might be familiar with these two individuals – PV Sindhu and her mentor, Pulela Gopichand. While teachers have a wealth of knowledge to share with their students, a mentor goes beyond, possessing a deeper understanding of how to extract the best from a student. The key distinction lies in the fact that a teacher imparts knowledge, whereas a mentor strives to bring out the student’s optimal potential. As a mentor, the goal is to guide the student towards becoming the best in their field.

Rather than focusing solely on completing the curriculum, view each student as a stakeholder in the future of Ayurveda. Recognize that they are the potential building blocks, the foundation, and the pillars of Ayurveda’s future. Identify and understand the unique capacities of each student, going beyond mere knowledge-sharing. Strive to be a mentor, guiding them in their personal and professional growth.

Evaluate the potential within each student and support them in nurturing and developing their capabilities. Importantly, be there for them during challenging times. Guide them in navigating difficult days, helping them understand that tough times are temporary and will pass. Assist them in coping with failures, providing support during challenging moments. Adopting a mentoring role fosters a deeper connection with students and contributes significantly to their overall development.

Remain available of the class

Being a good teacher extends beyond the confines of the classroom. It involves being available to students not only during class hours but also off the class. Demonstrating a willingness to help with personal or academic issues, whether related to the curriculum or any other concerns, makes a significant impact.

Recognize that some students may find it difficult to ask questions in the classroom due to shyness or other reasons. Being available off the class provides them with an alternative avenue to seek clarification and assistance. For those who may need time to process information, allowing them the opportunity to come forward with questions after reflecting on the material can enhance their learning experience.

Understanding that learning is not confined to specific hours and being accessible off the class enables students to resolve queries at their own pace. It caters to diverse learning styles and ensures that every student has the chance to seek guidance when needed.

Show them the opportunities of the future

It is crucial to motivate Ayurvedic students and help them understand the vast opportunities that await them in the future. Overcoming the prevalent demotivation within the Ayurvedic community is essential. By providing insights into the potential future of Ayurveda, students can develop a sense of purpose and enthusiasm for their studies.

Offer a broader vision within the discipline, spanning various areas such as cross-disciplinary opportunities, diverse organizations, and global perspectives. Share examples of individuals succeeding in Ayurveda, showcasing the variety of paths and opportunities available. This broader vision helps students contextualize their learning and envision their future roles.

Guide students on how to extract opportunities from criticism. Criticism, whether towards Ayurveda or the students themselves, can be turned into a constructive force. Teach them to find positive aspects and opportunities even in the face of negativity.

Share trends and opportunities emerging in the future, leveraging your knowledge to guide students on the evolving landscape of Ayurveda. Provide a roadmap for them to navigate and contribute to the field, fostering a sense of purpose and direction in their academic and professional journeys.

Become a source of inspiration

It brings immense joy to share a heartwarming incident from my experience. During a farewell party, one of my students who had recently completed her PG expressed her dream of working with me. This revelation came as a pleasant surprise, as I was unaware of her aspirations. The fact that she considered working with me as a dream job was a significant compliment.

Being a source of inspiration for students is a powerful aspect of teaching. When students view their teacher as someone they aspire to work with, it reflects the positive impact the teaching style has had on their mindset. This incident serves as a reminder of the influence teachers can have on their students’ aspirations and career goals.

  • Share your own story.
  • Share how you kept yourself motivated amid lot of demotivation which was already there everywhere in Ayurveda. This is a big challenge to keep yourself motivated. This is something very important to understand.
  • Share how you face negativity. You might have faced lot of negativities in your life. How you have shared these negativities.
  • Share how you faced the bad time you can share with your students.
  • Share how you kept your moral high around diving values and morality.
  • Share that if one can do it all can do it. At least you can also do it. If I am able to do it possibly you can also do it. So, share this kind of wisdom or share this kind of knowledge with them.
  • Share without a component of exaggeration and self-praise.

So, we are all teachers finally and these are lot of things which are recommended for the teachers to become to make them good teachers. This is all available over the net. You can find it.

Six first steps for the teacher to create a change

  1. You can start with present ideas to peers.
  2. You can share the resources.
  3. You can encourage others.
  4. You can become leaders.
  5. You need to observe your colleagues that how they are doing. They are trying to excel. Trying to do they’re in their own field.
  6. You can utilize the personal interest.

So, these are the six steps which can make a change and which can help you becoming a good teacher.

Take home messages

Becoming a teacher, especially in the field of Ayurveda, is a challenging endeavour. The difficulties are unique, and Ayurvedic teachers face additional challenges compared to those in other subjects. One of the most critical aspects of teaching, particularly in Ayurveda, is maintaining the relevance of studies for practical use in real life.In Ayurveda, knowledge goes beyond simply transmitting information from textbooks; it requires a deep personal understanding and realization. A teacher must not only possess knowledge but also feel and experience it to effectively share it with students. This process demands a high level of self-discipline and self-motivation.

Wishing everyone pursuing the path of becoming good teachers in Ayurveda the very best in their endeavours.



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