Teaching medical students takes professor to Dubai

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Professor has ‘one of the most profound teaching experiences’ of his life.

By Te Keyshia Johnson




A music professor at Northeast Lakeview College spent nearly two months this spring in Dubai teaching aspiring doctors and dentists how to publish research papers. Not only did David Torres help the students learn, but he also learned about himself as an educator.

Torres taught Feb. 19 to April 3 for Dubai Health Authority, a government organization dedicated to educating medical and dental students in Dubai.

DHA aims to provide quality health services to the Emirate of Dubai. The organization wants to send healthcare professionals to work in facilities and hospitals all around Dubai.

DHA paid for all of Torres’s expenses, plus a salary. He was still employed with Northeast Lakeview College but was able to adjust his schedule for his guitar classes so they wouldn’t interfere with his trip.

Torres said he was treated like royalty. He stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel and flew on Emirates airline. He was also fed three times a day for free and had his own driver, who drove him wherever he wanted to go in the city.

“I was treated in a way I have never been treated before,” he said.

He said he had never dreamed of going to Dubai in his life.

“I’ve been to Paris, I’ve been to Rome, but I never thought about going to Dubai before going on this trip,” Torres said.

Although Torres teaches music, DHA chose him because he earned his doctorate degree at the University of Phoenix and has training in research. He understands research principles and has writing skills necessary for publishing, he said.

Torres said he enjoyed being treated somewhat like a king.

Despite the lavish treatment, he knew he was there for a purpose: to teach and help the students at DHA become successful healthcare professionals.

DHA needed instructors to teach medical and dental students how to publish research papers, a requirement for all aspiring doctors in Dubai.

Most of the students in DHA lacked knowledge of publishing skills, he said. The organization hosted workshops where instructors like Torres taught publishing and how to research, Torres said.

The organization hosted different research workshops for the students. Torres and lead faculty, Dr. Ruby Ann Daniels, from the University of Phoenix, taught at every workshop together.

“Every week was different and we had a new batch of students,” Torres said. “Basically we just taught them new research principles, and they would take their proposal and work. Then we would give them feedback on their work, and we showed them how to develop a plan.”

The class size varied every day from about eight to 20 students. Most of the students in his workshop were aspiring dentists.

They worked as a team and gave the students exercises to complete between lectures.

“We gave them a lot of critical thinking exercises and brainstorming exercises, where they basically had to solve a problem of different topics, and converse about those topics,” Torres said.

The students enjoyed Torres’s method of teaching, according to post-class surveys, Torres said. Most of the students said Torres was engaging, interactive, clear and now they love research.

“Dubai was one of the most profound teaching experiences in my life,” Torres said.

He said the trip to Dubai was meaningful because he learned a lot about himself as an instructor. He said he felt rewarded because he was able to figure out new teaching methods, like giving appropriate feedback to help students make changes when needed.

“I learned that with guidance people can go a long way, because the workshops were five days,” he said. “From day one to day five I learned to see that students with the proper guidance can achieve a lot in such a short amount of time.”


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