Assessing Student Attitudes:

Questions 12-13 of the Teaching Style Self Assessment tool assess student attitudes. Students' attitudes are most accurately reflected by their behavior (Whitman and Schwenk, 1984), but discussion of these ideals and opinions can be fostered through questioning. Exploration of feelings is a part of the facilitative teaching style.

Question 13: "There is a wide variety of opinion on how to approach that ethical situation. What do you think you would do."

Ethical issues may arise from time to time in practice. Although you and your students may vary in your comfort in discussing them, they are good opportunities to explore the attitudes of your students.

Question 14: "You seem to be having difficulty in dealing with this patient. What 'buttons' do you think this situation might be pushing for you?"

It is a high-level skill for the clinician to be able to comfortably self-assess an unexpected emotional reaction to a patient. As a preceptor, you can help your students develop this skill through the kinds of questions you ask.

Teaching professional attitudes involves more than an occasional discussion. Just as the behavior of your students most accurately reflect their true belief and attitudes, your own professional behavior is the strongest message your students will receive. Table 2 summarizes some strategies for positively influencing the professional development of your students (Whitman and Schwenk, 1984).

Being willing to share how you deal with the uncertainties and challenges that all practitioners face will serve as an invaluable model to your student. Often the words, "I don't know," are the best answer.

Table 3. Role-Modeling Professional Attitudes
Be Capable Demonstrate your belief in competency and excellence in providing the best possible care to your patients.
Be Sensitive Demonstrate sensitivity to patient concerns as well as to the anxiety and needs of the student.
Be Enthusiastic Sharing your enthusiasm for patient care, teaching, and learning can produce more enthusiastic (and fun) students.
Be Yourself Demonstrate your approach to patient care and honestly deal with the uncertainty and ambiguity of clinical care.

Questions 16, 17, and 18 refer to teaching technical skills and will be referred to in Module 5.

Module 2: Teaching and Learning Styles