Teaching Tips Series


Directly following presentation material, perform a verbal quiz.

Benefits: Helps students recall material presented; helps student retain information; help students become more comfortable with the process of learning

How to: Immediately following presentation material, I try to keep to 15-30 minutes and rather than immediately leaving for a break, randomly quizzing students on the key points of the presentation. This is a low-stakes quiz to help build retention of information.

Reflection: I didn’t appreciate the challenge and the consequent value, of verbally quizzing material immediately following a presentation. Despite having just seen and heard a presentation, which I was engaged in, when asked to recall key points from the lecture, I struggled to do so. These were not minutiae, but rather seminal elements from the presentation, that I would not have imagined I would have difficulty recalling.

Relate the information to clinical correlates or board relevant applications.

Benefits: Application of information helps to transition materialinto long term memory and provides additional context as to why it is important to learn a given system. It also helps learners to better categorize information if they learn how theywill be expected to apply it. Board relevance is a great way tocover context and maintain interest in a topic.

How to do it: When presenting a basic science concept, such as the use of zinc in DNA binding proteins, relate it to how to apply it to the board exams like identifying a transcription factor from a list of unknown proteins based off the fact that it will be the only one that binds DNA. As the preceptor, find useful examples that are relatable to students and can be understood by the students.

Provide a way to learn by exclusion rather than bulk memorization. It is often easier to remember one group then know that if it is not in that category, it must be in the other.

Benefits: Decrease the load on learning memory by reducing what needs to be recalled

How to do it: Try to categorize things as much as possible. For example, if A and B work similarly, then you can deduce that C is in a different group.

Medical example: For example, pravastatin is the only statin medication to not be metabolized by the CYP450 system so knowing this, any other statin would have CYP450 interactions. Simple mnemonics lend themselves well here as well. Pravastatin Passes CYP450.

Further reading: Cognitive Load Theory (van Merrïnboer and Sweller 2010)


The purpose of the teaching tip video series is to provide support for small group teaching. Doctoral students from the Department of Teacher Education created these videos to both provide actionable teaching tips while also grounding ideas in empirical principles of learning to teach.

Teaching is complex, but there is a wealth of research on teaching and learning that can be drawn upon to teach in ways that are empirically more effective than some of the methods you may have experienced or used in the past. Just as clinicians can work to improve their practice, clinician educators can work to improve their skill as teachers. This video briefly elaborates on a few specific lines of thought and research you can follow in learning to become a better teacher and gives an overview of the rest of the teaching tip videos in the series (Purposeful Planning, Building Trust to Take Academic Risks, etc.).

Given the limited amount of time you are given to teach in a session, what should you spend the most time on to emphasize what is most important for students to know and do? This video helps you plan with purpose considering issues of pacing, teaching strategies, resources, and student needs. This video on purposeful planning will help you apply your knowledge of content to make decisions before your teaching session begins, so that the valuable time students have with you and each other is as productive possible.

The purpose of this teaching tip is to discuss how to establish and continually reinforce the group norm of building trust and taking academic risks. We will talk about why this norm is important, and then give specific strategies for implementation. This video focuses on one specific norm as an example: Building trust and taking academic risks. But many of these ideas would apply to other norms as well.

The purpose of this teaching tip video is to introduce the Google Drive/document as a space to support your culture of dialogue. The video demonstrates the use of a Google document as a tool for collaborative teaching and learning, and discusses the meaning of sharing the Google Drive/document to promote a culture of dialogue with your students.

The purpose of this video is to help you think about ways to foster more student-centered discourse, where students are contributing to meaning making in discussions. In this teaching tip video, you will be introduced 5 teaching moves to help prepare and facilitate purposeful, productive and powerful discourse.

In this video you will learn about dialogue as an effective communicative tool that allows students to push their own thinking and that of their classmates. The video explains the use of Think-Pair-Share activities to promote dialogue in a low-stakes environment.

One of the goals of medical school is to teach students to think like clinicians. Think Aloud Pair Problem Solving (TAPPS), is a teaching strategy you can adapt and use in the small group setting to encourage students to practice and demonstrate clinical reasoning. Over the course of this video, the value of TAPPS in developing clinical reasoning is explained, the TAPPS process is reviewed, and strategies to facilitate the process in the small group setting are identified.