Episode 2

The Struggle is Real(ly Important!)

with Dr. Eric Gantwerker

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2020, July 20). Ep. 2 – The Struggle is Real(ly Important!) [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

We talk with Dr. Eric Gantwerker about tips and strategies to make medical education and teaching more effective.

Podcast Participants

Dr. Eric Gantwerker

Dr. Eric Gantwerker is a practicing Pediatric ENT and an Associate Professor with Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois.

Dr. Gopi Shah

Host Dr. Gopi Shah is a practicing ENT at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.

Dr. Ashley Agan

Co-host Dr. Ashley Agan is a practicing ENT and assistant professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.

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Show Notes

In this episode, our hosts Dr. Ashley Agan and Dr. Gopi Shah are joined by Dr. Eric Gantwerker to speak about medical education and the nuances involved along different levels of training.

Dr. Gantwerker begins by discussing different possible teaching and learning styles. One idea he speaks about is cognitive load, which describes that a novice only has a certain amount of attention and cognitive attention they can focus on a topic. He also mentions the ideas of “chunking” and “zone of proximal development”; these ideas combine the ideas of constantly challenging learners with gradual responsibility and allowing the learner to repeat the same activity or action repetitively while slowly increasing the amount of activity involved as well. This keeps people in a challenged enough state to where they struggle, but not enough to where it is completely out of their ability to succeed. Dr. Gantwerker then rounds off the process by having a debriefing session afterwards, in which feedback is exchanged between both student and teacher on how the experience went. This allows for tailor-made teaching experiences for students and establishing rapport between students and teachers.

The discussion continues in what Dr. Gantwerker focuses on during the teaching process. He mentions the concept of “Line, Speed, Beauty”, which highlights the importance of first mastering basics, followed by increasing efficiency, and the aspect of beauty which naturally follows. Dr. Gantwerker ends the discussion by highlighting different learning techniques, including organizational thinking, thorough understanding, and experiential learning. He then speaks about challenges faced in current virtual environments and how to manage them.

Resources Mentioned:

Level Ex Learning App:

Dr. Gantwerker’s Twitter Handle: @DrEricGant

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