The associate professor of physical therapy believes teaching should allow student self-discovery through freedom and creativity.
“Teaching to everyone” is the philosophy that has guided Dr. Philip Fabrizio’s teaching methodology for the past 32 years. While researching student motivational behavior, he uncovered a quote, attributed to authors Henry A. Murray and Clyde Kluckhohn, which aligns with his style – “Every person is, in certain aspects, like all other people, like some other people, and like no other person.”
This methodology earned Dr. Fabrizio the “Innovative Teacher of the Year” award at PCOM Georgia. He was selected by a panel of fellow faculty members across all programs who teach at the Suwanee campus. Read about Jason, Kaplan, DO '13, clinical assistant professor, cardiology, who was selected as PCOM's 2019 Innovative Teacher of the Year at the Philadelphia location.
A physical therapist by training, Dr. Fabrizio earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2008 and is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Education degree with a specialization in Teaching and Learning. He joined PCOM Georgia in April 2018 as an associate professor and currently teaches physical therapy students clinical anatomy, clinical exercise science and wellness and clinical neuroscience.
Dr. Fabrizio believes that his role as a teacher is more about being a “facilitator and personal role model rather than the expert.”
He explains that his curriculum is linked to clinical cases and scenarios from the start of the anatomy course which improves student orientation to learning. “Students are allowed to draw from their current knowledge and experiences, thus improving motivation,” he said.
He augments traditional lectures with presentation techniques such as visual interpretation of images, dissection of cadaver specimens, clinical cases and palpation exercises. “Teaching should be “multi-faceted with a considerable amount of freedom and creativity to allow student self-discovery,” he believes.
Dr. Fabrizio’s students are not required to follow a dissection guide in the laboratory, but are asked to find the structures discussed in class using a variety of learned dissection techniques.
Dr. Fabrizio said, “Fostering independence in the laboratory has allowed students to view their cadavers and their work differently than simply following the dissecting manual, in effect viewing the cadaver with a more inquisitive sense.”
He explained, “In past classes, several unique dissection techniques, driven by student curiosity and creativity, have been published in peer-reviewed journals as novel techniques and teaching aids.”
Oral examinations and peer and near-peer teaching methods are also distinctive teaching styles. Dr. Fabrizio’s methods have resulted in presentations to the American Association of Clinical Anatomists and the American Physical Therapy Combined Sections meetings.
He said, “I am very excited about the award, not just for my personal recognition, but also as a way to recognize the physical therapy department and our students who have been receptive to the process.”
“Without our students, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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