Adjust Your Teaching Methods

Each student approaches his or her learning environment from a unique perspective, shaped by skills, knowledge, experiences, and attitudes. Similarly, each patient encounter provides a variety of learning opportunities. It is important for clinical teachers to a) consider where their students are in their learning trajectory and b) identify what “clinical pearls” are available from each patient encounter.

By first considering the students’ needs, teachers can then present these “clinical pearls” via patient encounters. Ultimately, the goal is to teach the student through thoughtful utilization of the patient cases available at the moment. These carefully crafted teaching opportunities allow for maximized of learning outcomes.

Quick Tips

  • Ask students about their past learning experiences
  • Determine how each student learns best in order to maximize their learning
  • Review various teaching methods
  • Select a teaching method based on content that you would like to teach, taking into consideration the student’s unique needs
  • Pay attention to the student's response to your selected teaching method and adjust if necessary

Authors: Mandi Sehgal, MD, Christine Clevenger, Ed.S.

  1. Ralhan S, Bhogal P, Bhatnagar G, et al. Effective teaching skills – how to become a better medical educator. BMJ 2012; 344:e765.
  2. Pettit J, Rosenbaum M. Strengthening Your Teaching Toolbox. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2014