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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31820dcba3
Letters to the Editor

The Need for More Teaching-Skills Training for Medical Students

Shariq, Omair; Alexopoulos, Anastasia-Stefania; Razik, Fathima

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Medical student, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; omair.shariq@doctors.org.uk. (Shariq)

Medical student, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom. (Alexopoulos)

Medical student, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom. (Razik)

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To the Editor:

Enhancing the teaching skills of medical students is a beneficial way of equipping future doctors with the teaching-skills set they will require throughout their careers. Yet implementing such enhancement is not easy. For example, Soriano et al1 report that 44% of the institutions they surveyed felt that “competition with other educational demands” represents a major limitation to the implementation of teaching-skills courses. Although we acknowledge that this is a legitimate concern, it can be addressed by providing clear learning objectives and core material in advance (e.g., in the form of e-lectures and online resources). This will allow the same learning outcomes to be met in a cost-efficient manner, making it easier to implement teaching-skills courses without jeopardizing other curriculum needs. Furthermore, clear learning objectives woven into a curriculum map can add value to assessment. For instance, the United Kingdom's General Medical Council's proposed curriculum maps (described in Tomorrow's Doctors2) may allow one to trace how a learning objective was met and by whom it was taught. This transparency would lend itself to retrospective analysis and would facilitate curriculum changes where they are due.

With the ever-increasing competitiveness of the medical field, it may no longer be necessary to convince the new generation of students of the value of such courses. The attainment of teaching qualifications will enrich students' curriculum vitae, setting them apart from other candidates. Programs that offer qualifications have already been established3; it will be interesting to see how high student participation and enthusiasm will be over the long term.

As with any new course, success will rely heavily on continuous evaluation; the use of clear curriculum maps will aid this process. Ultimately, it will be important to assess how teaching-skills training influences the quality of care in hospitals. We believe that such courses will produce better communicators, educators, and, ultimately, physicians.

Omair Shariq

Medical student, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; omair.shariq@doctors.org.uk.

Anastasia-Stefania Alexopoulos

Medical student, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Fathima Razik

Medical student, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

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References

1 Soriano RP, Blatt B, Coplit L, et al. Teaching medical students how to teach: A national survey of students-as-teachers programs in U.S. medical schools. Acad Med. 2010;85:1725–1731. http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Abstract/2010/11000/Teaching_Medical_Students_How_to_Teach__A_National.32.aspx. Accessed November 29, 2010.

2 General Medical Council. Tomorrow's Doctors. London, UK: GMC; 2003.

3 Cate OT. A teaching rotation and a student teaching qualification for senior medical students. Med Teach. 2007;29:566–571.

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges

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