Peripatetic teaching: what can medical education learn from ancient Greece?

Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2021 Apr 2;82(4):1-7. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2020.0714. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


Background/aims: Peripatetic teaching originated in the Aristotelian school of ancient Greece and refers to the action of walking, discussion and deep learning. A pilot study was carried out to evaluate the educational impact of peripatetic teaching in clinical medical education. There has been no previous evaluation of this form of teaching within medical education.

Methods: A pilot study was carried out to evaluate small group clinical sessions encompassing peripatetic teaching.

Results: A total of 56 post teaching questionnaires were completed and evaluated (return rate ~95%). High levels of satisfaction (n~4.7/5) were reported from this method of teaching. On average, a total of 1420 steps were taken during each teaching session, identifying additional exercise benefits for all.

Conclusions: This article identifies educational and health benefits to peripatetic teaching. The authors present a simple framework to structure each teaching session using the mnemonic FIRM - Feedback, dIscussion, Reflection and Mentorship. From this pilot study, the authors conclude that there are perceived benefits for teacher and learner from this teaching method.

Keywords: Active learning; Aristotle; FIRM; Medical education; Peripatetic; Walking and exercise.