::Being a better teacher ::
Dr Mahibur Rahman
This article was first published in 2005 and is reproduced with the kind permission of Hospital Doctor, who retain the copyright.
Teaching is an integral part of being a doctor regardless of the stage you have reached in your career or the specialty you are following. Whether you are a house officer teaching medical students basic skills or a Consultant training specialist registrars on advanced surgical techniques, there are some universal techniques that can help make you a better teacher.
Set clear learning objectives
Setting out early on the educational objectives that you would like to achieve makes it easier to plan what and how to teach. Objectives that are clear and specific are the best, especially if set within a realistic timeframe. This helps both learner and teacher monitor progress. Setting too many objectives, or using a very difficult to achieve timeframe can lead to feelings of failure, or make the learning experience feel like a series of boxes that need ticking. Vague objectives make it difficult to gauge if you are progressing well, or if you need to make extra efforts in one part of your training.
Timetable your teaching activities
When working in a busy clinical environment, you may often find that there aren't enough hours in the day to fit in all the demands on your time. Teaching, and preparing to teach is time that can become easy to sacrifice - juniors may find it difficult to raise objections (unlike managers!). If your teaching time is written into your timetable, and protected, this is less likely to happen, and trainee and teacher will both benefit. Don't forget that preparation time is as important as the teaching itself.