See One, Do One, Teach One: What Do EM Learners Want?

The Teaching Mini-Fellowship met on 8/14 for our first meeting this Academic year. We had two new members join us, Andrea Ferrari and Carla Sterling. They both performed their initiation 5 minute lecture about topics they are experts in. Anyone else who wishes to join us for discussions on teaching methods, lecturing, mentorship, feedback and other important topics for academic medicine let myself or Dr. Smith know. The next meeting is 9/25 at 8pm.


The second half of the meeting was focused on the paper named, What do EM Learners Want from Their Teachers? A Multicenter Focus Group Analysis. A link to the paper is here:


The study was performed in multiple Canadian Academic Medical Centers where focus groups were formed to discuss what they thought was important for effective teaching in the ED. The focus groups were made up of medical students, EM residents and rotating residents from other services.

The top 5 attributes of an effective teacher were identified as: “takes time to teach”, “gives appropriate feedback”, “tailors teaching to learner”, “uses the teachable moment” and “has a good teacher attitude”. A synopsis statement was made: “An effective ED teacher is one who demonstrates a good attitude while finding time to tailor relevant, contextual teaching to the learner and provide feedback during the shift.” These attributes were translated into principles of adult learning theory:


-Contextuality and Relevance

-Effective teaching skills

-Good role modeling

Multiple comments were made in the focus groups identifying how difficult it was to be an effective teacher in the ED. Many learners expressed sympathy for the teachers and responded well to the teachers who made an effort.

The majority of the discussion of the TMF regarding this paper related to tailoring teaching to different levels of learners and how this can be difficult. You cannot give the same pearls to a senior resident which you do for a medical student.

Also the perception of the teacher and learner are often different. An interaction may be perceived by the teacher as education but the learner may not recognize this.  There are advantages to identifying certain interactions verbally as teaching moments, so that the learner can key into these opportunities.


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Assistant Program Director of SUNY Downstate EM Residency

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