Residents As Teachers - Precepting Skills - Step 2: Probe for Supporting Evidence


Step 2: Probe for Supporting Evidence

Now that learners have committed to an opinion, explore the basis for their perspectives. Possible questions to ask here include:

“What were the major findings that led to your conclusion?”

“What else did you consider?”

“What factors made you choose that particular medication (or laboratory test)?”

“Why do you feel this patient should be hospitalized?”

“Why would it be important to do that part of the physical in this situation?”

These questions help you explore learners’ rational and clinical thought processes. They also help you determine whether learners might have guessed or arrived at a “correct” answer through faulty logic, an incorrect rationale, or inference.

A major challenge to instructors at this point is to resist the temptation to tell. Instead, seek the learners’ perspectives. The results will help guide your subsequent teaching points so they focus on learners’ needs.

The following video is a great illustration of Step 2. Note that the student’s responses are providing the framework for the teaching points and the student is doing most of the talking. This video was developed by Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning.

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