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Becker/Geer, Student Culture in Medical School

Outcomes? Results?The scholars reveal the dilemmas and choices that medical students are in. As they have to face a huge amount of work, the students start to make choices about what to learn and how to learn it. Different groups of students are elaborating different strategies: the ones who consider things from their practical aspects, other will more focus on the elements it takes to pass the exams. The scholars observe similar considerations in the clinical years, where students are giving preference to patients whose diseases they consider being important for their future practice. The students are constructing over time a student culture with its own norms and rules.‘Student culture is thus the cornerstone of many faculty difficulties with students, one of the facts of life which teachers must, in their turn, make some accomodation’ (Becker/Geer, p. 80)

Research methodology?Members of the Chicago School, Becker and Geer use the participating observation in order to better understand the construction of the subculture inside medical school. They are following medical students over a long period of time in order to see how these attitudes and strategies are constructed during their time at Medical School.

Theoretical framework?culture: “body of understanding and agreements among students about matters related to their roles as students” (Becker/Geer p.70-71); culture is socially constructed inside a group, they build common meanings and attitudessubculture: people have to face common problems and interact to find solutions for them, having the same contingencies and exigencies in everyday lifestrategy: students develop strategies in order to cope with a certain situation, e.g. the choice of what to learn and what to consider as unnecessarysymbolic interactionism: Becker and Geer are part of the Chicago school, they are focusing on what is happening inside an institution, the interactions between individuals and the meaning they attribute to their actions and interactions.

Research Question?The scholars examine how students’ culture is constructed inside a very isolated environment as is medical school. They observe students in their academic and clinical years in order to see how they are building this subculture inside their students’ group. They try to figure out “why one goes to school and what he expects to get out of it, how one should behave toward a teacher, what things are worth learning and why, how to pass examinations, how to avoid punishment.” (Becker/Geer p. 71)



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