Getting started; applying for admission; guidelines for Level-1 and 1-H students
Certification program in Traditional Chinese Herbal Sciences
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Copyright ©2011-2017 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.
by Roger Wicke
Over the 25 years that I have taught Traditional Chinese Herbal Sciences, my own observations about what educational methods work and which do not have evolved. Moreover, advances in technology and discoveries in educational psychology have exposed old-fashioned rote memorization, passive listening to college lectures, and watching educational videos as highly inefficient for acquiring comprehension and mastery. These methods persist only because institutional inertia and resistance to change prevents more effective methods from taking their place.
The HerbalThink-TCM course software includes numerous articles discussing some of the challenges of learning clinical Chinese herbology and how our software and our course curriculum has evolved to meet these challenges. HerbalThink-TCM has been in use at RMHI since the year 2000, and it is crystal clear from 15 years of student data that successful completion of the instructional texts, assignments, and interactive computer games correlates very strongly with later clinical effectiveness and ability. For more background on how the software was designed to overcome specific problems in learning TCM herbology, read:
Before the year 2000, our courses were designed like most other college courses, though with minor concessions to the advent of the Internet: textbook reading, written homework assignments submitted via postal mail or email, student email discussion groups, followed by one-week long seminars that began with a conventional multiple choice exam to test mastery of the prior term's material. In 2000, we first introduced the use of the TCM Herbal Tutor software, a module within HerbalThink-TCM, into our course. That year, half our students took advantage of our TCM Herbal Tutor software to prepare for the final exams. Every single student who used the software passed the written exam by a wide margin, in contrast to many of the others who were still struggling with basic definitions.
After that term, I concluded that TCM Herbal Tutor would become a required part of our curriculum, and, eventually, I jettisoned the idea of conventional multiple choice exams for several reasons:
Instead, the TCM Herbal Tutor software takes the place of conventional exams, and overcomes most of their disadvantages:
Over the past 15 years, whenever a student graduates from one of our courses, I ask that student to give us feedback about how our software and our curriculum might be improved. The following sections outline guidelines for students that are closely based on what successful graduates of our courses have done in the past.
At no time did we ever add complexity to the requirements for this course merely to make it more academically impressive. (I'm probably the first person to squawk whenever I suspect some academic elitist is trying to impress me with esoterica of no practical value.) The primary and ultimate criterion for our curriculum design is whether or not it improves clinical results and outcomes. Here's my own personal experience: When we first created a usable version of the TCM Herbal Tutor, I resisted using it myself, because I thought I "knew it all". After all, I had been in practice for over 15 years at that time. However, Curt Kruse, my research associate, insisted that we both drill through the program from start to finish, just as we would later require of our students. It was a humbling experience for me. I gained insights about recognizing patterns that I had seen rarely or never, such as the severe Virulent Heat (Wen Bing Ying- and Xue-levels) patterns, and a few years later I was able to actually use this information successfully in several near-death cases; I also noticed that my clinical evaluation skills became sharper.
If you are seeking a quick and easy way to become certified, our school is not the right choice for you. However, if you have an aptitude for Chinese herbology and the motivation to become the most effective practitioner you are capable of becoming, we welcome your application for admission.
Note: Requirements and features of Level-1 and Level 1-H (Family Health Educator program intended for individuals primarily interested in improving their own health and that of family members) are identical except where indicated otherwise. See courses and certification options for a comparison of similarities and differences of these two programs.
To prepare your admission application, complete the following steps:
Begin at any time.
After being accepted for admission, paying the tuition fee, and your enrollment term in Level 1 or 1-H begins, you should have:
You are welcome to arrange a phone consultation if you have any questions about the above.
It is important to follow the instructions in the Lesson Plans in in your HerbalThink-TCM software, as we have found that this sequence works optimally for most students, though you are also encouraged to skip around and follow where your curiosity leads you.
Most students are able to complete Level 1 within a year, though you are welcome to take longer if necessary; you would simply pay the future annual tuition fee if you need an additional year.
In the Level-1 and 1-H courses, your single most important task is to submit your TCM Herbal Tutor Progress File by the due dates, normally at the end of each quarter. Email reminders will be sent during the week before each due date.
Because of the importance of regularly playing the TCM Herbal Tutor games and submitting your Progress File, we are now requiring submission of the Progress File as part of the admissions application. In the following article we explain how this requirement will help you discover whether you have a natural aptitude for Chinese herbology:
Before 2010, I was relatively lenient about demanding Progress File submission from students, and now recognize this to have been a mistake. From questioning students, I discovered that too many of them were still stuck in the mental mode of preparing to "pass the exam", and these students kept delaying use of the TCM Herbal Tutor games, because they were postponing playing until they thought they knew enough to "pass the exam". That's not how it works. You should start playing the games immediately after you have read the relevant textbook chapters even once. Think of them as games, because that's what they are.
Beginning in 2011 November, all Level-1 and 1-H students will be required to actively participate in the online email discussion group for RMHI students and graduates. Learning Chinese herbology is like learning a new language, you can memorize the grammar and vocabulary of a language, but until you engage in real conversation with others, you will never really understand it well. Engaging in email conversation with others will make the course material far more interesting and relevant, will help embed the material you have learned into long-term memory, and will increase your comprehension. Just as learning a new language requires actually speaking and writing it, to learn TCM well you should practice speaking, writing, and thinking it. It doesn't matter if you make mistakes, it's the regular practice that counts.
Please read the guidelines for participating in these discussion groups.
Each Level-1 or 1-H student will be added as a member to the following discussion group: