Developing your teaching skills

What is good medical teaching and how can junior doctors enhance their skills?

As set out in the Guidance for Junior Doctors, there is no ideal formula for good teaching.

 Effective learning happens when:

  • teachers are enthusiastic and supportive
  • students are engaged in doing rather than listening
  • teaching is based around patients and cases, not diseases
  • teaching links basic scientific knowledge, and helps students apply it to clinical contexts
  • students can interact with the teacher and the learning materials

To help you enhance your skills below are details of: the TIPS courses; e-learning modules from the London Deanery; details of the UCL TiME Conferences; and information on Training to Teach. Other teaching resources are listed on the appropriate pages. Ways to have your teaching skills and experience accredited, and ways to take your interest further are also provided.

The Royal College of Physicians recently published the "Acute Care Toolkit 5: Teaching on the Acute Medical Unit." This contains a wealth of practical advice on maximising teaching and learning opportunities in the AMU. The principles apply to Postgraduate Trainees, as well as Undergraduate students. You may also recognise a few familiar faces... 


A great way to improve you teaching is to get feedback. Feedback can come from self-reflection, peer observation and from learners themselves. There are many different ways to get feedback from learners and various types and designs of feedback form. Paul, a previous Clinical Teaching Fellow, has helpfully provided an example form that you can download, print and use. 


All Foundation Doctors will get some training in teaching skills through the Foundation Programme teaching programme. But what if you are a more senior trainee, or want to take your interest further?

The Teaching Improvement Project System (TIPS)  provides high-quality training in teaching skills for healthcare professionals. Courses are run by the TPDU (Teaching and Professional Development Unit) and are taught by motivated and experienced teachers who work for UCL Medical School.

Core Teaching TIPS for FY doctors This course is open to FY1 and FY2 doctors only.
Core Teaching TIPS (TIPS 1) This course is open to trainee doctors (post FY), non-trainees, consultants, GPs or in professions allied to medicine.
Bedside Teaching TIPS (TIPS 2) This course is open to all doctors and staff in professions allied to medicine who teach clinical students. You must have completed TIPS for FY or Core teaching TIPS before attending this course.
Large Group Teaching TIPS (TIPS 3) This course is open to all doctors and staff in professions allied to medicine. You must have completed TIPS for FY or Core teaching TIPS before attending this course.

More information about the content of individual courses is available on the TIPS pages, along with other information including a link to course dates

The London Deanery

High quality, accessible, free online modules are provided by the London Deanery. They are a great place to start, to get an overview of various aspects of medical education.

The London Deanery e-Learning for Clinical Teachers

Topics include:

  • assessing educational needs
  • giving feedback
  • setting learning objectives
  • introduction to educational research
  • involving patients in clinical teaching
  • and many more...

Certificates are available on completion of individual modules, to add to your ePortfolio.

UCL TiME Conference  

The second UCL TiME Conference: 2TiME Trainees in Medical Education Conference: Developing Your Career in Medical Education took place on Tues 16th October 2012

UCL TiME Conference

There are an increasing number of junior doctors who combine their interest in medical education with clinical training. There are a range of formal posts available including CTFs (Clinical Teaching Fellow, including those at UCL) and FMEs (Fellows in Medical Education). Many hospitals and academic departments have one or more doctors in these posts. There are also many more doctors in training who would like to learn more about how to increase their involvement and experience in medical education. The TiME Conferences are a chance to get together, share experiences and ideas, and learn more about careers in medical education. The inaugural TiME conference: Medical Educators of Tomorrow, was held in April. Feedback and photos can be found on the TiME site.

The 2TiME Conference: Developing Your Career in Medical Education was also a huge success. For in-conference feedback via twitter have a look at the storify. Photos and feedback will be available on the TiME site soon.

Training to Teach

For CMT/ACCS trainees who are tutors in the Twilight Clinical Teaching Programme at UCLH, a Training to Teach programme has been established. The aim is to build on the skills and knowledge of trainees with some previous experience of teaching, many of whom have already completed TIPS 1 or a similar programme. The sessions vary, but are highly interactive and include discussions, sharing ideas and challenges, and critiquing medical education research. See the UCLH Twilight Clinical Teaching pages for more details.  


The UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching works closely with staff responsible for teaching and learning across UCL, to provide support underpinned by the scholarship of teaching and learning, and grounded in the UCL context. 

Their site has a wealth of cross-disciplinary information. Of specific interest may be:

  • Professional development - for staff with honorary contracts with UCL as teachers and lecturers
  • Advice and Guidelines - both general and discipline-specific
  • Resources - a wealth of ideas and resources to help you influence, motivate and inspire your students. The Change One Thing campaign includes some great ideas. 
  • Courses and workshops - only on offer if you have an academic link to UCL eg an honorary contract with UCL medical school. You will need a UCL login to book via the single training booking system. If you're a Case of the Month Tutor you will already have a UCL login - lucky you!