Residents As Teachers - TEACH Model - A = Ask Students Question


A = Ask Students Question

The ability to ask good questions is key to good teaching. Asking questions enables an instructor to:

  • Assess students’ knowledge and comprehension of a given topic
  • Engage students in the learning process
  • Stimulate, expand, and refine students’ thinking
  • Assign students more responsibility for learning
  • Model questions you want students to be asking

Asking good questions requires practice and can be challenging. Here are some hints:

  • If possible, try to begin your interactions with an open-ended question, e.g. What do you think is going on with this patient? What did you hear when you listened to this patient?
  • Give students enough time to respond (wait at least 3-5 seconds).
  • Try not to ask multiple, simultaneous questions.
  • While many questions may focus on fact recall, it is important to ask about other things, e.g. What made you come to this conclusion? What else could be going on with this patient? If this was a case of “x” vs. “y”, what would you do differently, if anything?
  • When appropriate, help students sort through their thought process to get to an answer, instead of providing it for them.
  • Try to adjust the difficulty of your questions to the students’ abilities, moving towards increasingly complex concepts as appropriate.
  • Try not to play “guess what I’m thinking.” This irritates students and shifts the learning dynamic to an instructor-centered approach, rather than student-centered.