Teaching: Introduction

Last updated: Monday, December 30, 2019

NB: See learning outcomes for this tutorial mapped to competencies and a PDF of the whole text.

☞ Why this subject matters...

As a pre-registration and foundation pharmacist you are likely to be involved in the teaching of others. This could be quite a formal planned session such as a giving a lecture in a classroom to a large group of learners, or something more ad hoc such as teaching a student or small group on a ward round. Whatever you have to do, it is essential that the learning is effective. This topic will walk you through the key steps of delivering a planned session from working out what your learners need to learn, through to how best to prepare for and present your teaching, and the pitfalls to avoid. This is not a detailed review of teaching theory, but more a practical guide if you are starting out. It does not cover assessment methods or giving feedback to learners.

Getting started 

Your pharmacy education and training lead asks you to teach 8 new pre-registration pharmacists about the management of diabetes mellitus. Who or what might help you decide what to include in your teaching session?    Consider, then click for answer.
Some suggestions
A good starting point is to speak to the pre-registration pharmacists to find out what they know already and where the gaps in their knowledge are. Other people that may be able to help you include your pharmacy education and training lead and your diabetes team. The GPhC pre-registration assessment framework could also help to guide you.

If you are faced with delivering a new teaching session, one of the first steps is to decide what your learners need to learn. People that can help you include the learners themselves, their tutors and education leads, subject experts and patients. These are sometimes called the ‘stakeholders’.

For learning to be effective, your learners need to be engaged. One way to achieve this is to actively involve them in developing their own learning. Before your teaching session, you could contact them to establish what they know already about a particular topic, and where they think the gaps in their knowledge are. Establishing a learner’s baseline knowledge also helps you to pitch your teaching at the right level. Be aware that sometimes what learners think they need to know and what their actual needs are may differ; your other stakeholders, such as their tutors, can help you to prioritise their true training needs.

Other than consulting with stakeholders, you may also need to check whether there is any relevant guidance or maybe a syllabus on your topic from bodies such as the GPhC, your local Trust or university.

The process of gathering all of this information is called a ‘training needs analysis’.