Perhaps you don’t follow me because you don’t know me? Let’s fix that…

I’ve been a happy Medium member for a few months now and have been so impressed with the many of the writings and writers. High quality pieces that move my soul, stimulate my mind, explain complex or novel situations, help me see the world differently and make me squirt milk outta my nose on occasion. Some piss me off, but even these I welcome as a chance to explore the trigger and what might be happening below my surface.

I clap.

I respond.

I praise.

I challenge to understand more.

I submit my own thoughts — not because I’m a paid writer, oh HELL no…I’m raw, juvenile, pedantic in my oversimplifications, I complicate simple situations, and more. I share because I care: about the world, about my mental and physical health and those of others, about causes and ideals, about what I perceive as injustice, and a whole host of other seemingly confused topics. I also don’t submit for anyone to validate me or my thinking — momma raised me to stand proudly flawed of who I am in each flawed moment.

So I don’t really care about metrics. Being able to measure something doesn’t mean that something counts, or that large numbers of something means something (reference certain Twitter accounts). Having metrics, though, can help explain reach, impact, etc. so I am curious to find out why my writings aren’t quite hitting the mark, if they’re not, with people.

This got me to thinking about why… Why might not people see Gary Keil and think “I’d like to read this”? One answer was perhaps it’s because they don’t know who I am. This got me to thinking about the #JohnMaxwell quote “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” — which got me to thinking of my “Teaching Philosophy” statement that I crafted years ago that included that quote.

So I thought what a good way for you to get to know me a little better and, quite possibly, me to get to know YOU if you’d be open enough to share your own.

With this I proudly present

A Statement of Teaching Philosophy by Gary Keil, PhD, RPh (Registered Pharmacist for those of you who don’t know…)


I believe participating in the education of others and the sharing of our understanding about how the world works is the most direct way we can show our fellow beings how much we care about them and their development. I believe education should not be seen as a process in which the ‘learned’ are simply helping the ‘ignorant.’ Although the onus of one’s education is ultimately on the individual (i.e., the ‘student’), I believe the process can be greatly enabled by facilitative methods that help those who help themselves. Finally, I believe a main focus of educators is in the creation of settings that foster learning for all by minimizing the hurdles that all too easily arise along the way.

I believe the human body is one of the most amazing examples of a complex system. I believe this system and its frailties, both physical and emotional, can only be understood on a holistic level. When it comes to correcting problems when the human system goes awry, I believe healthcare practitioners (HCPs) are unique in that their world is a major convergence point where the public, science and personal care meet. Because they sit where they do and do what they do, HCPs must understand as much as possible about the human condition, practicing the art and science of medicine to the best of their ability. This must be done with extreme humility, however, because our overall understanding of how the body works is, at best, at the beginning of the learning curve.

Conceptualization of Teaching

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

We are born completely dependent on our parents or family for all of our needs. Our dependency shifts to others during our development but that dependency never fully leaves us, regardless of how we try to convince ourselves that we can survive “on our own.” Indeed, our happiness and development cannot continue if we sever our connections with everyone else. We, therefore, need one another. If we attempt to obtain the intellectual “food” necessary for our growth from individuals who do not have our developmental needs in mind, we place ourselves at risk for being led away from our desired path. This risk is not one we willingly take. Therefore, at their most foundational level, educators must care for their students. Without demonstrating genuine care, trust will never develop. Furthermore, without trust, the belief that one is being told the ‘truth’ (i.e., the most sincere explanation of how we understand ourselves and our world) will never occur. Educators cannot assume that they know where a student wants to go, despite their possible enrollment in a very prescriptive program. So in addition to care and trust, relationships between educators and students must include clear goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and expectations. Teachers must encourage these same relationships amongst the student peer groups, as group learning (many-to-many) can be vastly more powerful than the teacher-to-student (one-to-many) approach.

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of becoming.”

Activities that limit growth potential should be discouraged whenever encountered. Reinforcements of positive actions help take individuals beyond initial self-inflicted limits. Indeed, we are what we repeatedly do and we tend to believe what we repeatedly hear. So an absolute imperative of effective teaching is continual affirmative support to all students. This is not to imply that every student can become any or all that they would like, but anything less than supportive actions by teachers will certainly prevent them from becoming what they are capable of.

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it himself.”

Galilei poignantly captures the fact that educators are one part of the successful learning equation. Indeed, information that is forced upon someone not desiring it will be heard but it certainly won’t transform their understanding in any meaningful way. Teachers must recognize that without students motivated to learn, their success will never be fully realized. Teachers must engage students in ways meaningful to them, without compromising the overall quality of their peers. Not an easy balance, but one that can be better found with full engagement amongst all group members. With this balance established, teachers can help guide students through preparative, contributive and analytical phases.

Two-thirds of all adults suffer with self-image issues.

Education is one of the primary means for people to rise above their current situation. Indeed, it is oftentimes the only way for some to break out of their past – pasts that were likely determined by their parents’ and grandparents’ inabilities to dedicate time to their own education. When these hungry minds encounter “smart people” who look condescendingly on their ignorance or inexperience, their desire to learn may well be compromised. Unfortunately, this can happen so much that they begin thinking they were “right” that they could never be “that smart” and should not have even tried to leave their past situation. This negative self-fulfilling prophecy is compounded by the fact that exploration into unknown territories can be a source of anxiety. Teachers must, therefore, be sources of inspiration and support on equal terms of being information sources. They must realize the fragile nature of the human psyche and be attentive to what is said and done just as much as what is unsaid and undone. Patience, attention and not assuming anything are key attributes of all communication between educators and students. Feedback must be provided in a timely manner through ways that reinforce positive points of previous sessions and gently corrects any deficiency.

Conceptualization of Learning

HCPs must be accountable, informed and masters of their profession; but, more importantly, they must be able to problem solve through a world of incomplete information.

Our society has, unfortunately, become one with a modest instant-gratification mentality, and one that has dissociated somewhat from traditional work:output relationships. So, students might present with slightly skewed senses of reality that need addressing. Moreover, students need to realize that their advancement is mostly under their control. Clear roles, responsibilities, and working processes, must be established by an agreed-upon contract at the onset of any new activity. This is a responsibility mostly under the teacher’s control. Whereas, the responsibility of ensuring the contract is adhered to is for the student. Students must be informed of the process and of any changes, but they are in control of how the activities evolve and are ultimately the owners of the outcome. They will need to operate in the daily world without full information, under time-sensitive pressures, and often without adequate resources. They must, therefore, be able to solve problems more effectively than they will need to be able to reference specific issues or find simple information.

HCPs must understand how we think the body works, how we think the body works when diseased, and how we think the medications effect healthy as well as diseased parts.

Without a comprehensive understanding of how the body maintains health, the understanding of disease is impossible. Without understanding disease processes, the understanding of how to bring the body back to a healthy state is impossible. And without knowing how medications work on both healthy and diseased body parts, the chances of affecting positive changes and the avoidance of inducing harmful effects is not possible. Students must, therefore, dedicate a significant amount of their education into the most detailed level possible of the functions and dysfunctions of the human body. They must understand that the body is an inseparable set of interconnected systems and perturbations in one system affect every other system in some way.

HCPs must realize that the full treatment of patients include both physiological and psychological means.

Even if not fully schooled in psychology, every HCP must remember that there is no way to separate a person from their disease. Great care must be remembered that the attempts we make to heal involve both the person’s mind and body. We must not oversell what can be expected, yet we must not prevent a possible positive outcome by suggesting lower efficacy potentials than are realistic. HCPs must, therefore, learn how to find numerous balance points for each interaction they will have with patients and their families. Finally, HCPs must approach every interaction with patients and their family with the same approach they do with pharmacological therapies… holistically.

There ya have me…

Will you share you with me? Will you leave me feedback of some form ? A clap would suffice, but a comment or a link to your own would be much richer…



Neuroscientist, chronic pain specialist, mental/physical resiliency training professional, ultramarathoner & triathlete, philosopher, theosopher and chocoholic.

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Dr. Gary Redfeather (Keil)

Neuroscientist, chronic pain specialist, mental/physical resiliency training professional, ultramarathoner & triathlete, philosopher, theosopher and chocoholic.