Purpose Indisputable is the importance of teachers to learn how to teach better. What might not be as apparent is the importance of a student to learn how to teach. With this knowledge a student is able to not only recognize a good teacher but also recognize what makes this person a good teacher. They are able to critically analyze a teaching encounter, detect both the good and bad teaching behaviors, and then adopt the positive behaviors to refine their own teaching. Despite the importance of learning how to teach, formal courses are lacking in most medical schools, including our own. To establish a series at our institution to formally teach teaching skills, the Learner as Teacher series was initiated with the help of a philanthropic grant. The purpose of this course is to help students recognize their roles as teacher, to introduce key concepts in teaching, to develop skills in analyzing any teaching encounter, and to gain proficiencies in the participants' ability to teach.
Methods The design of the course involves a series of interactive small group discussions that focus on several key elements of teaching. Participants include fourth year students enrolled in the Acting Internship in Internal Medicine (usually 3 or 4 per group). Each group of students is exposed to four 1 to 11/2 hour-long weekly sessions each divided into the following parts: 1) mini-lecture - define educational concepts and name key components, 2) videotape review of sample teaching sessions - recognize key behaviors, 3) roleplay that is videotaped and reviewed. Outside of the teaching sessions, the students will keep track of their teaching by filling out teaching encounter cards. These cards are carried with the student as they are working on the wards and are filled out after any teaching encounter with a third year student, with a patient, or with a patient's family. The student categorizes the teaching encounter, rates the effectiveness of the encounter and their comfort level with the encounter. This endeavor will help to personalize the teaching concepts from the interactive sessions. Pre- and post-course questionnaires are completed to help determine the effectiveness of the course, if the student has found critical analysis of teaching helpful and to find if students are more comfortable with their teaching abilities.
Results We are tabulating the data obtained from the teaching encounter cards, pre- and post-course questionnaires.
Conclusions Students have found that the course made them more aware of their teaching strengths and weaknesses, improved their enthusiasm for clinical teaching, and improved their perceived clinical teaching ability.
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