The process of teaching is ubiquitous in medicine, both in the practice of medicine and the promotion of medical science. Yet, until the last 50 years, the process of medical teaching had been neglected. To improve this process, the research group at the Stanford Faculty Development Center for Medical Teachers developed an educational framework to assist teachers to analyze and improve the teaching process. Utilizing empirical data drawn from videotapes of actual clinical teaching and educational literature, we developed a seven-category systematic scheme for the analysis of medical teaching, identifying key areas and behaviors that could enable teachers to enhance their effectiveness. The organizational system of this scheme is similar to that used in natural sciences, such as genetics. Whereas geneticists originally identified chromosomes and ultimately individual and related genes, this classification system identifies major categories and specific teaching behaviors that can enhance teaching effectiveness. Over the past two decades, this organizational framework has provided the basis for a variety of faculty development programs for improving teaching effectiveness. Results of those programs have revealed several positive findings, including the usefulness of the methods for a wide variety of medical teachers in a variety of settings. This research indicates that the development of a framework for analysis has been, as in the natural sciences, an important way to improve the science of the art of teaching.
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