Theater based Learning - TBL

A unique and innovative methodology to learn and understand educational material

Medical Theater

Medical Theatre is the use of TBL for medical and healthcare topics.


August 2011


Following the introduction of medical theatre in the form of two workshops held at St John’s Medical College, immense amount of interest spurt out from students and faculty of various departments in the hospital. One of the most eager organisations that were very enthusiastic about applying medical theatre was the St. John’s College of Nursing. On special request a session was introduced into a national workshop on research methodology. This special request triggered a thought process that structured this innovative teaching methodology into a one hour session.

In order to carry out such a session in front of close to 500 persons, a team of enthusiastic nursing students were trained for a performance that would involve dramatization of a story conveying educational content. A plot was created on “Hypothesis and framing of objectives”. The nursing team underwent 8 hours of practice and training distributed over 4 days and in the process learnt the subject as well as its methodology for conversion. The performance was then carried out on the day of the event along with the entire team.


The 1 hour talk was presented to an audience of 500 participants using Stand up comedy and dramatic narration. This unique presentation was well accepted by participants and teachers.

The statistics script



In an all India villan and robbers association conference, the pick pocketing associations chief in charge raises some concerns to the president of the association.

Chief- sir, it is with deep regret that I bring to your notice our poor
success over the last few months. We are helpless to find out what has been
going wrong?

President- why? What happened? Your team is our pride and we respect you for
having been the most successful pickpocketing team in the entire underworld
and the underuniverse. What is this that has caused your downfall?


Chief- well sir, there have been significant failures from the hand bag
robbing division mainly, as we were unable to rob these handbags

President- you were outdone by ladies? Is that what you are trying to say?
ladies got the better of you?

Chief- I have a few real life scenarios .

Robber 1- sir, I was robbing the hand bag of a lady in Jayanagar, as soon as
I got hold of the bag and was about to run… suddenly from somewhere she
sprayed something into my eyes and it burnt for hours.

President- That must have been pepper spray you idiot.. Havent you read that
you must always wear glasses before robbing?? Do you know the three
advantages of wearing glasses ? and the soda buddi classification?


Robber 1- No Sir.

President- Read up and come.. I ll ask you tomorrow.

Robber 2 – Sir, When I tried to rob another lady from jayanagar area, I took
the hand bag and ran..

President- Very Good

Robber 2- But it started ringing loudly like an alarm until people around me
identified me as a robber and beat me to pulp.

President- Did that purse have lots of colours on it? ( robber nods vigorously) You should be ashamed… A simple alarm you didnt know how to diffuse.. You must always avoid hand bags with too many colours. what is the coloured bag sign?… dont know??  read up and come.

Robber 3- Sir , I robbed a hand bag from a lady in jayanagar successfully.

President- Shahbhash!! my boy shahbhash!! see learn from him…

Robber 3 – But when I ran for a few minutes I was arrested by the cops..

President- what?? how >> ..


Robber 3- Sir ,, the Hand bag had a GPS enabled detecting device…

President- Technology…..What is happening to the world we are living in?
.. how has this revolt against us started?… we must stop it…Now its in
Jayanagar.. Tomorrw it will be in Koramangala.. Then in mekri circle…What
will we do.. what will our kids eat.. what will our children become..all our
future is at stake.. we must act soon..

Chief- Sir..What if it starts in other areas like bank roberry division and Gambling departments.

President- We must act fast.. we need to fix these errors

Robber 4- errors? Sir.. I think I know who can help us..

President and chief- Who?   Who?

Robber 4- I was once robbing a group of doctors who were attending a
Biostatistics workshop.. It wasnt difficult as all were either asleep or too
confused to respond.. and the person speaking was going on claiming that he
can identify errors… I still remember that day when I almost found it
difficult to escape as I my eyes too were closing.. But I was determined and
got out of there.

President- he can fix errors? bring him here immediately.


Entry of a man in formal dress enters being escorted to the president by two
thieves on either side who have already stolen his wallet. The statistitian
is terrified…


President- Welcome O error detector. I have heard great things about you.
Well you must be knowing that there is a very small difference between me
and you.. you find error and we find terror.. ha ha ah aha ah ahhha hahah ah
a.. whats your name?

robber 4- Sir.. his name is Sunder Prasad Shivashankar.. They call him SPSS
for short..

president – Did I ask you???  did I ???….. (to SPSS).. Why are you so

SPSS- is my hypothesis true if I state that the purpose for you to bring me
here is the same thought that has 90 percent prevelance in every mind when
they think about someone being picked up by a group of thugs and that the
likelihood of you robbing my valuables has a 95 percent confidence interval
of 97 – 99.

President- what did he say?.. did any one understand that?

robber 4- sir.. when I attended his session during my roberry at the
workshop, I learnt a few basics that he was teaching. may be I can try to

President – Ok… But what did he just say?
Robber 4 – sir .. he said that he belives we are going to steal from him.

President- are you sure thats what he said, cos he spoke for a pretty long
time.. anyways.. dont be scared.. we want your help. we want you to solve
our problems.

SPSS- oh.. well.. thats some you want me to teach you statistics?

President- no no.. we want you to help us be better robbers.. we have some
problems we are facing

SPSS- what problems? you need to be specific..

President-we need to find out why some women have started to get brave
enough to fight back with us and spoil our hard earned efforts in making our

SPSS- See you are begining to get very vague again. you need to tell me very
specifically what you want me to find out. Your objectives need to be framed
properly otherwise the results will get effected.. for example do you want to estimate the incidence of women that are brave enough to revolt against robbers in bangalore?

or do you want to estimate the fear levels in girls who carry handvags?
or do you want to estimate the fear levels in girls with handbags who shop
in groups with friends or in those who shop alone?

or do you want to estimate the ammount of money in the handbags of thin
girls, normal sized girls and fat girls.

or do you want to estimate the incidence of which girl will attack the
robber back, the one who was robbed by scaring or the one who was robbed by
being friendly.

or do you want to see the strength of association between size of hand bag
with ammount of money in the hand bag?
President- bring me my gun or immediately translate all that he just said?

Robber 4- sir.. all that he is asking is for us to clearly tell him what
exactly we need to find out about these women.

President – Now that you put it this way, maybe we can try and find out whether robbing by being friendly is more useful.. I know a gang who used to do that.. but never heard from them again… maybe they did really well.. anyways.

well we need to know only two things..

1. which is a better method? robbing girls by being scay or by robbing girls after making friends with them?

2. and what is the average ammount of money they carry in hand bags.

SPSS- OK .. so you want me to estimate the ammount of money in the handbags of these girls and also want me to estimate the incidence of which girl will attack the
robber back, the one who was robbed by scaring or the one who was robbed by
being friendly.


president- well that made sense and thats what I want to know. How long would you take?

SPSS- maybe one week, but I will need your people to help me out.

President- Anything my friend, they are all yours.

SPSS- Here is what we need to do.. this group here goes to jayanagar and snatches the hand bags of 25 gils of age group 18 to 25 years by using the conventional scaring methodology. You two will act as news reporters and interview these girls after the robbery has taken place and will ask them these 5 questions.

That group goes to jayanagar and snatches the hand bag of 25 girls of age group of 18 to 25 years by being friendly with them first and then robbing their hand bags. You two again will act as reporters and interview these girls for feed back.

The filled feedback forms will be brought to me and you .. over there.. you will count how much money was in each of the hand bags and submit it to me. After this I shall run it on my computer and shall tell  you the results.

President- Well , that doesnt sound too difficult.. lets begin..

1 Week later all the data is collected from a sample of the universe and submitted to SPSS.

SPSS- Hmm.. I have run the results on my computer and an interesting finding has surfaced.

pesident- what ? what? tell us.

SPSS- well the incidence of hand bags being robbed by comparing the two methods, robbing with fear and robbing with being friends shows that robbing with being friends has a higher number of robberies. And it is statistically significant with a p value of < 0.05. Interpreting that robbing a hand bag sfter being friendly is a much beter methodology.

President- wow… so that what we have been doing wrongly. robbing by being friendly is much better. are you sure? ae you confident?

SPSS- well the 95 percent confidence interval for robbing by being friendly is 97-99.

president- what does that mean? what language is this.

robber 4- sire. he means that if we rob the hand bags of hundred girls , 97 to 99 will be robbed successfuly by the being friendly method.

President- ok.. thats good news.. and what about the ammount of money in the purses?

SPSS- Well, this was a quantitative data and the mean ammount of rupees in the stolen hand bags was roughly 1500 rupees . And the maodel was..

President- model?/? where?? where is she

Chief and robbes- model? where? we want her?

SPSS- The statistical model is mean + and – standard deviation of 500.

President- Areey.. what is this that you are saying again.. I am not able to understand anything.. tell him to talk nomally or ill shoot his brain into peices.

Robber 4 – sire.. he means that the ammount in the purse is about 1000 to 2000 rupees.

President- ar you confident?

SPSS- well the CI is 92- 95.

President takes out his gun

Robber 4- sir, sir — he means that if we rob a hundred purses then 92 to 95 times tha ammount in the purse will be 1500 + or – 500.

president- Hmm.. we ar happy with you O SPSS. You may go now and thank you for helping us. I hope there ae no erros in you study.. or else you will see a different side of us

SPSS– Well when you apply these results into the universe again, if thee is an error then thats the standard reeor

President- take him away before I do something to him.

Now, having known these new results, the robbers apply this to their target population. within on week the entire robbery crew is missing. only the chief is left behind.

Chief- sire.. sire.. that SPSS fooled us.. he made a mockery out of us..

Psident- what?  what happened?

Chief- sir.. all our robbers have gone missing..

President- but how? who took them?

Chief- No one took them.. they ran away them selves.. they started being friendly with girls and the girls liked them back. They didnt have the heart to steal from them so they ran away with them… we are doomed… our entire department has fallen down to nothing. and there was no money in the purses.. all wee filled with cedit and debit cards. he lied to us and played with our emotions.

Prsident- The SPSS will pay for this.. he told us something that was not true as true.. this is a grave error on his part. Kill him…

soon the SPSS is found and hacked to death. SPSS then goes to heaven where he meets god.


SPSS- O holy one.. I made a type 1 error. The result of something false came as statistically significant and thats why I have been given this fate.


soon SPSS was sent down to earth as he realised that it was the time when the data was submitted to him and he was running the results on his computer

SPSS- Hmm.. I have run the results on my computer and an interesting finding has surfaced.

pesident- what ? what? tell us.

SPSS- well, the results show that robbing by being scary is better than robbing by being fiendly but the results are not statistically significant. May be this is because we have a smal sample size. Further studies will be required to get moe conclusive data.

President- what does this mean

Robber 4- sire.. what SPSS is trying to say is that our method for robbing by scaring these gils is better that robbing by being friendly but it is not significant by the soft wae. he says w need to coninue this on larger population

President- well if you know so much then why do we need spss. I appoint you as our new statistitian and ask you to take this study forwads. lets get rid of SPSS. set him free.

SPSS- phew… this type 2 error saved my life. Here something true came as statistically insignificant but atleast it doesnt kill any one. thank you god. thank you for the second chance.