Teaching During Residency Resources

Interested in learning more about effective teaching strategies? Every university has additional resources to help you on your way.

McMaster University

McMaster occasionally focuses their MAD Days (Multidisciplinary Academic Days) on teaching, although there is no schedule for how frequently this may occur.

In addition to this, however, there are courses that are open to all residents throughout the academic year, primarily through the Faculty Development website. These are usually done online over a few weeks, typically with weekly podcasts, relevant readings and ongoing forum discussion.

Courses include CTF (Clinical Teaching Fundamentals), Feedback in the Clinical Setting, PBSG-ED Series for Clinical Teachers (includes Providing Feedback to Learners, The Learner in Difficulty, Preparing for New Learners, Developing Professionalism in Our Learners, Interprofessional Education and Collaboration), Tutorial McBloopers and MacEssentials – A Workshop for Tutors in the MD Program (for those faculty/residents teaching pre-clerks).

Full descriptions for these courses are provided on the faculty development website. Although there is a cost to participate in some courses for faculty, the experience of residents is that it is often waived if residents indicate a desire to participate.

The Internal Medicine program at McMaster University has developed an innovative teaching program named Teaching Residents to Evaluate and Teach (TREaT). This program is delivered over the three years of core Internal Medicine residency with workshops related to topics that range from adult learning theory, bedside teaching, feedback and giving effective presentations. Additionally, this program has a day in PGY-1 where time is devoted to demonstrating effective teaching methods in the clinical setting, half-days on how to give effective presentations and simulation days to teach procedural skills.

Northern Ontario School of Medicine

NOSMU has an all-resident retreat in first year where there is training on how to teach more junior learners. It is a one-day workshop focused on giving and receiving feedback, effective questioning and thinking strategies

Additionally, the NOSMU PGME office is rolling out online teaching skills resources for residents. NOSMU also has an online teaching self-reflection form for residents to document and reflect on their teaching.

Queen’s University

Queen’s PGME has collaborated with the Faculty Development Office to offer an “Essentials of Successful Teaching” program consisting of two full-day workshops that are open to both faculty and residents.

  1. Essentials of Successful Classroom Teaching focuses on designing effective PowerPoint presentations and curriculum design.
  2. Essentials of Successful Clinical Teaching focuses on teaching around cases using the One Minute Preceptor/SNAPPS. The second half of this workshop deals with assessing students and identifying learners in difficulty.

University of Ottawa

In Ottawa, all residents are required to participate in the Residents as Teachers (RAT) course, which is offered as part of the PGY-1 core curriculum. The course is offered multiple times over the year; it is a full day program that involves didactic lectures and group discussions.

A series of topics are covered, including making effective PowerPoint presentations, teaching through questions, providing constructive feedback, and effective teaching in the clinical setting. Residents then have an opportunity to practice some of these skills by teaching each other in small groups on a non-medical topic. Feedback from residents who have taken the course has been very positive.

University of Toronto

Although we are not aware of any programs offered to all residents at U of T, many of the larger residency programs offer teaching programs as optional adjuncts to residency training. In addition, PGME includes an update on teaching as part of their annual chief resident leadership workshop.

The UofT Family Medicine program offers an optional course called “Teaching Residents to Teach”. It is open to both PGY years, but especially encouraged for PGY-1s. The course comprises approximately four half-days, three of which must be completed in order to receive credit. The program covers different teaching and learning strategies, such as giving feedback and giving effective presentations. Also included are practical sessions that allow residents to work in small groups and give feedback on each other’s skills development.

Residents who have completed the course find that a useful part is a ‘learning styles’ questionnaire they must complete to understand their own bias as a teacher and to acknowledge the different learning styles of people they may eventually teach.

The Psychiatry program also offers a relatively new, four-session “Teaching Skills for Residents Program.” Session topics are highlighted in advance and taught by both a resident and faculty member. Resident feedback has been positive, largely because the sessions consist of both short, didactic teaching components, followed by more interactive components, such as small group discussions and teaching role-play. Sessions are spread out by about a month, which gives time to try a few different strategies between sessions and see what works for you.

In addition, the Department of Psychiatry offers a Clinician Scientist Stream and Clinician Scientist Program (CSS/CSP) which allow you protected time for research purposes. While not specifically an opportunity to learn teaching skills, you have the option to take part in the CSS/CSP with a focus on educational research and ultimately pursuing graduate work in education. A stream specifically dedicated to educational skills development is being discussed by the program.

In Paediatrics, there is an optional Resident As Teacher (RAT) elective, which can be completed in any year from PGY-2 to 4. This elective can be done as either two or four weeks, and involves a clinician-teacher as a mentor, as well as daily review/didactic sessions with the mentor. Residents completing the RAT block take on the responsibility of teaching medical students and PGY-1s. There is a clinical exam-focused session, a chalk-talk type session, and a more standard lecture session each week. The resident is also responsible for creating written or digital resources to go with sessions as appropriate.

The Anesthesia program offers a series of six medical education seminars for trainees doing Masters of Education or simulation fellowships/electives, but it is open to all Anesthesia residents. These sessions are led by experts in the topic of the day and cover basic adult learning theory, debriefing and current education literature reviews.

Western University

The Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, through the Continuing Professional Development office, offers a workshop entitled, “Teaching in a Clinical Setting: A Workshop for Residents.”

In addition to this, Western is in the process of developing another, more inclusive and longer “Residents as Teachers” course which may include a mix of in-person and online modules. Stay tuned!

In addition to teaching medical students and junior residents in a clinical setting, there are often opportunities for residents to teach in a non-clinical setting as well. This may include presenting at PBL sessions and teaching clinical skills. Often Undergraduate Medical Education offices will reach out to residents with opportunities however if you are very interested, you can contact your University UGME office directly.

NB: Programs and teaching resources can change quickly. If you are aware of a program not listed above, please let us know and we will do our best to get it up onto the website.

Still want more?

If you have a definite passion and interest in teaching more junior learners, or if you simply want to know more about how to teach effectively, PARO has compiled these resources to help you on your journey.

1. Favourite Teaching Articles:

  • One-Minute-Preceptor – This is a teaching technique that is easy to use based on any case a more junior learner has seen. It encompasses a number of “microskills” that you use to reinforce learning and independent decision making in more junior learners. It can be used in any setting, but is especially useful for busy, clinic-based settings.
  • SNAPPS – This teaching strategy is also useful when a more junior learner has seen a patient. It is helpful in allowing learners to self-identify learning gaps and is a collaborative approach to patient management and learning. It is useful in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.
  • Giving-Feedback – This useful article, summarized from a number of other resources, highlights ways you may find helpful to provide positive and constructive feedback to your learners.

2. Favourite Teaching Websites:

ALiEM – Academic Life in Emergency Medicine is a great website for those both inside and outside of EM to use. It is extremely readable and well-organized and is useful for both teachers and learners. This is a great resource to use yourself in order to discover and learn more teaching tips. For example, under the “nonclinical tab” there are articles that include such teaching topics as “Tips to Stimulate Intrinsic Motivation in Learners.” There is also a “clinical tab” that can be great to refer students to for self-directed learning following cases they may have seen.

3. Favourite Teaching Book Resources:

Many of these books are available online through most major book retailers and also have a digital format for easy reading on your digital devices. They are a great complement to the above resources for those of you who are dedicated teachers and want to learn more about how to best facilitate learning in your juniors!

Dent, J. A., Harden, R. M. (2013) A practical guide for medical teachers, 4th ed. Toronto ON: Elsevier Limited.
Edwards, J.C., Friedland, J.A., Bing-You, R. (Eds.). (2002). Residents’ teaching skills. New York NY: Spring Publishing Company.
Harden, R., Laidlaw, J. (2012). Essential skills for a medical teacher: An introduction to teaching and learning in medicine, (1st ed.) Churchill Livingstone.
Mohanna K., Wall D., Chambers R. (2010). Teaching made easy: A manual for health professionals, (3rd ed.). Radcliffe Medical Press.
Rubenstein, W., Talbot, Y. (2013) Medical teaching in ambulatory care, (3rd ed.). New York NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Share with us!

We are always looking for ways to help residents learn important skills. If you’ve come across a great teaching resource, let us know. We’d be happy to consider it for our list.