Seeing a patient with Dr Chen

Coach in Real-time:

Teaching in clinic can feel like a scramble. The old way? Find something you know about, give little tips, try to anticipate what the learner will need—you’re a factoid dispenser. Try our method: ask for a learning goal, collect just a few observations—then set up your learner for feedback that is constructive and motivating.

Great teachers do way more than put learners in the audience while they talk to the patient. Instead of waiting for learners to ‘get it’, engage them in what matters, coach them in the details, and inspire them to become self-motivated. 

Let’s face it: lectures don’t work. Learning happens through interaction. And when that interaction happens with a teacher who models presence and skill, gives the learner a map about how to get there, sets up deliberate practice, and gives constructive feedback—that’s what stokes learning.

We’ve been working with teachers for years, tweaking and rethinking how communication skill transfer can be more like scaffolding and less like cough syrup. Don’t spend time reinventing what we’ve distilled here.

Most effective communication skills teaching is done in two settings: real-time clinic mentoring, and small group workshops. You’ll see how we deploy mentoring & teaching skills—different than primary communication skills—in both settings. And if you want to really hone your skills, come to one of our courses!

If you know our work, this section is based on our Oncotalk Teach project. To get our newest versions—take a VitalTalk faculty development workshop.