Associate Professor Christine Phillips was a joint recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award. Photo by Stuart Hay.
Inside the classroom: Christine Phillips
Five minutes with recent joint recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR CHRISTINE PHILLIPS.
If you had to teach your course in 50 words what would they be?
Medicine is a social practice, medical knowledge is socially grounded, and the patterns and extent of illness distributions reflect the social world we live in.
Medicine cannot be understood without understanding our society, but we also use medicine as an important framework to explain how the social world works.
What is the weirdest/funniest classroom experience you have had?
One of my lectures was derailed by Obama's first election.
I thought my students were deeply engaged with my teaching as they stared intently at their laptop screens, until the first one shouted "He's in!"
There was dancing in the aisles.
What makes a good teacher?
Preparation, feedback, preparation, good humour, preparation.
Who inspires you?
Secondary school teachers! Their jobs are much harder than a university teacher's.
I've especially learned a lot from the passion and persistence of the teachers in the Refugee Bridging Program and Secondary Introductory English College at Dickson College.
The GPs that I have worked with for the last eighteen years: it's not a myth that good general practices are like families.
And a generation of patients who for ethical reasons are nameless, but inspire much of my teaching.
What is the best excuse a student has ever given you?
"The due date falls on the anniversary of Princess Di's death, so I'll be in mourning."
If you could make everyone read just one book, what would it be?
The Secret. I base all my teaching philosophy on this book.
Why go through the hard graft of medical training when you can just wish hard enough and think positive thoughts?
Everyone should read more than one book, so if I had to recommend something other than The Secret for medical students it would be Epilepsy David B's graphic memoir of growing up with a brother with a serious illness.
The translation of the original French title, The Rise of the High Evil - is a medical pun which is sadly apposite.
What is the best lesson you have ever learned from a student?
It's usually the hecklers in the back row, who are either bored by your teaching or don't think it matters as much as you think it should.
The lesson is to seek out the negative feedback - it's where you can best learn how to improve.
What is the best lesson you have ever learned from a teacher?
"Take your topic seriously, and show students why it matters in the real world."
I learned that from secondary school teachers.
The best ones can create an environment of inquiry and learning that engages even the most disengaged student.
Determined to be both a doctor and an educator, Associate Professor Christine Phillips enrolled in a teaching degree while still a junior hospital resident.
Over the past decade, she has taught applied social sciences to more than 900 medical students, drawing the links between theory and practice using her clinical work among marginalised populations.
This innovative program of teaching has demonstrated that medical students can learn to value social sciences as much as hard sciences.
Christine has worked as a General Practitioner in Canberra since 1995.