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Using seminars as a teaching method in undergraduate nurse education

28 March 2019
7 min read
Volume 28 · Issue 6


This article explores the use of seminars as a teaching method in undergraduate nurse education. Using the backdrop of a year 1 learning unit, grounded in the 6Cs, entitled person-centred practice, the format of the seminars is described in detail. It argues that engaging in a variety of student-centred activities helps students to become informed, self-motivated and curious learners. It identifies that using seminars as a teaching method helps to ensure that students understand and learn what they need to know by using a variety of learning approaches to support them in their personal and academic growth. These include discussion, groupwork, independent learning, the use of technology and building self-confidence, problem-solving approaches and reflection techniques. While being mindful of the higher order skills required to develop and manage seminars, the author uses the concept of constructive alignment to demonstrate development of the seminar approach from curriculum design, teaching, learning, assessment and evaluation.

In nurse education, a variety of teaching styles are used, ranging from didactic lectures given to large numbers of people to teaching in small groups. Nurse educators are often challenged to find methods that engage students with enthusiasm to understand concepts (Aruna et al, 2014). Mills and Alexander (2013) identified that, in small group teaching, dialogue and collaboration between participants are fundamental to learning. Hughes and Quinn (2013) postulate that one way to achieve these is by encouraging students to participate in group discussions during their learning. This paper will examine the benefits of using seminars as a teaching method in undergraduate nurse education.

Students need to understand and learn. One way to achieve this is to use active teaching methods such as seminars. There are many benefits to using these in undergraduate nursing programmes. Quinn (2000) suggested that a key aim of seminars is to encourage students to develop a level of critical thinking skills. He argued that one way of achieving this is to encourage them to contribute actively to debate and dialogue. Spruijt et al (2013) maintained that seminars allow students to participate in discussions under the guidance of an expert, and thereby become active participants in their own learning. Worth (2013) states that seminars provide a variety of learning opportunities.

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