Students as teachers

Benjamin I Silbert, Stephanie J P Lam, Robert D Henderson and Fiona R Lake
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11353
Published online: 16 December 2013

In reply: We agree that the quality of student training and competence of those delivering it are of utmost importance. However, we disagree with Pearson’s opinion that teaching “should be an honour bestowed on a few rather than a rite or obligation for all” and that only these “honourable few” should be trained.1 Involvement in any teaching confers benefits to both tutors and tutees1-3 and, although some may stand out, all junior doctors are involved in peer teaching on an almost daily basis and should be trained to do so. Supporting this, the Bridging Project — an Australian initiative to develop a vertically integrated curriculum — has defined “doctor as educator” competencies beginning at the medical student level.4 Finally, it should be recognised that senior clinicians who do much of the teaching and supervision of students are not assessed on their competence to teach.5 Until we “assess” our senior teachers we cannot assess our junior teachers, but should take an approach to improve the quality of all.

  • Benjamin I Silbert1
  • Stephanie J P Lam1
  • Robert D Henderson1
  • Fiona R Lake2

  • 1 Western Australian Medical Students’ Society, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.
  • 2 School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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