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Peer-observation of teaching

Page history last edited by Kendall Rogers 7 years, 2 months ago




One of the educational goals of the Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of New Mexico is to enhance the quality of teaching by hospitalists in the in-patient setting. Previous strategies to accomplish this have included surveying internal medicine residents regarding various aspects of effective in-patient teaching, standardizing rounding times, developing expectations of hospitalists regarding resident and medical student education, and developing  a 3-hour seminar focusing on effective in-patient teaching. One criticism of the previously implemented strategies is that they failed to provide direct observation of and feed-back to faculty about their teaching.  Thus we designed a project that employs direct observation of in-patient faculty teaching by a hospitalist faculty peer. Published descriptions of similar programs have used a “best practice” checklist with expert-to-novice observation and feedback about how the novice can more effectively implement “best practices.” Our model is different in that its primary focus is on peer observation of each other’s teaching style and technique, followed by a peer-to-peer discussion of how teaching styles and techniques differ without designating specific techniques as desirable or “best practice.” We designed a template to record observations of teaching behaviors in multiple areas including team leadership, presentations, bedside encounters, and professionalism; and then used this template to facilitate a discussion between the observed and observing hospitalists’ teaching techniques and behaviors and why they might or might not be effective.  Our hypothesis is that this non-evaluative peer-to-peer exchange of ideas will result in adoption of more effective teaching techniques, “best practices” will emerge and be adopted more frequently, and  the quality of teaching by all hospitalists (novice and experienced) in our group will improve.  The form was developed and piloted by a working consisting of Patrick Rendon, Deepti Rao, Rush Pierce and Kendall Rogers. The program is due to begin March, 2013




1. To create an environment that facilitates exchange of ideas with respect for inpatient teaching.

2. To improve faculty members’ teaching effectiveness in the inpatient setting.

3. To improve faculty members’ teaching confidence in the inpatient setting.

4. To improve faculty members’ teaching satisfaction in the inpatient setting.


Directions for the observing peer: 

A. Several days before the observation  

  • Read the background statement and goals.  Understand that the exercise is designed not to evaluate your peer, but to make observations of teaching techniques and behaviors.
  • Read the instructions and familiarize yourself with the form.
  • Contact the observed faculty schedule a 60 minute period of observation. We suggest that you not observe case management rounds.
  • Briefly review the exercise with the observed faculty and ask them to review this form before the scheduled observation.
  • Recommended days for the observation are the day that the observed faculty’s team is immediately post day call or pre-night call.
  • Schedule with the observed faculty a 20 minute feed-back session (“Review and Reflections”) either the same day or the day following the observation.


B. On the observation day

  • Print a copy of the team census
  • Meet your team promptly at the agreed time.
  • Introduce yourself to the team and read the following statement:”My presence today is part of our Division’s attempt to improve teaching effectiveness, confidence and satisfaction. I will be observing your team interact on rounds. This is not an evaluation of the team, the attending, the residents or the medical students. I will not be participate in any way with teaching or patient management, so please do not direct any questions to me. You may introduce me as an observing physician.”
  • If you are asked a question about medical knowledge or clinical carte, you may choose to answer: “Providing education or advice about patient care is not my role today, but I would be happy to discuss this with you after rounds." 
  • Record your observations of teaching behaviors and techniques directly on the form. Use the headings to help you decide in which box to record your observations, and try to decide if the observed behavior is similar to or different than the way that you teach. Use the prompts to remind you of the types of activities that you might observe teaching.
  • Record specific examples and quotes, but do not record protected health information.
  • Before finishing, be sure to fill out the demographic portion of the observation on this page, asking the team for any information that you do not already know.


C. The feed-back session (“Review and Reflections”)

  • The feedback session should be a conversation involving both faculty members.
  • Review your written observations, whether observed behaviors are similar or different than your own, and seek comments.
  • Record in the Review and Reflections section, at least one thing that you learned or behavior that you plan to adopt. If you did not learn anything and plan to adopt nothing new, write “none.”
  • At the completion of the feed-back session, ask the observed faculty to record in the Review and Reflections section at least one thing that they learned or behavior that they plan to adopt. If you did not learn anything and plan to adopt nothing new, write “none.”
  • Turn in the form to Jennifer Montoya who will separate the demographic portion so that the names of observing and observed peers will remain anonymous.
  • Complete the Peer Observation Tracking Form below to list the completion of this activity under your name 


Click here to download a copy of the form


Peer Observation Tracking Form


(back to Hospital Medicine Divison Resources)

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