Interview with Thien An Tran about the Heidelberger Stationenplan

In the panel discussion on May 14 and 15, the question of “How can we prevent young people from smoking” was addressed leading to the adoption of a new EAT-Curriculum by 16 faculties of medicine. The most significant addition is the Heidelberger Stationenplan, which was developed by Thien An Tran and was further developed by her fellow students Ailis, Caelan and Samuel.

Thien, what led you to redesign your plan? What is the story behind it?

“The old station plan was good, but we identified some weaknesses in it, which could be improved and would benefit both the high school students as well as the university students. My personal experience was that I sometimes left a classroom feeling drained and stressed because the students were constantly acting up, which would put me in a bad mood. From my point of view, this atmosphere was not conducive to delivering a motivational presentation, which is a shame really!

The ability to increase the students’ satisfaction and motivation and the opportunity for them to benefit more from our school visits was the main motivating factor when redesigning our plan.”

What are the main advantages of the new plan?

“In a nutshell, better student interaction, holding the students’ attention for longer, increasing the students’ confidence in small groups. All students can contribute at the same time with the rotation structure providing a clear structure for different themes.”

What are the limitations, or where do you see drawbacks in the plan?

“Members of EAT should be familiarized with the plan as they can easily implement them in class. That means that more how-to events have to be carried out, which in turn strengthens group cohesion!”

What is important to bear in mind about the new plan?

“So far we’ve held several how-to events, in which the students are divided into groups and worked on the stations themselves, with the aid of a script, which we put together. Anything occurring to the students could later be added to the script of course.

There is a new script, which was written by us, for the new plan, which acts as a guideline and contains the objectives of the respective stations. The themes to be discussed are listed but the decision regarding which points to focus on the most is taken by the teacher who administers the script and the group of students participating in the exercise. That means, that the students have flexibility in this part of activity by having the freedom to focus on what will benefit them the most and by choosing the most interesting topic for them. The keyword here is autonomy.”

Did you think that your suggestion would have already been implemented on a national level in 16 EAT member faculties of medicine within the space of a few weeks?

“We were all very hopeful and had discussed the possible arguments against the idea amongst ourselves and how we could rebut these arguments. We all pulled together and as a result were able to support each other, as we were all completely convinced of the new plan’s success. The other EAT representatives were, contrary to all expectations, very open, interested and enthusiastic. That pleasantly surprised us and we were really pleased that the plan was adopted without any problems. In particular what you did Titus was a good and selfless deed! Thank you from all of us for being open and receptive!”

More information about the group from Heidelberg:

More information about the panel discussion: