by Teresa Chan, MD, FRCPC
e-Editor intern, Assistant Professor, McMaster University
In this month’s upcoming issue of The Clinical Teacher, David Boud writes a commissioned paper that provides us with helpful tips and hints regarding feedback. This article is most definitely a ‘go to’ resource for any health professional who teaches in the clinical setting.
As he highlights in the article,”… [f]eedback in clinical settings, must be characterised
not solely in terms of inputs, but also by the effects that result.” Particularly, this concept hit home for me. You see, for the past few years I’ve been hard at work at my institution working with our residency education program to redesign workplace based assessment to emphasize feedback. This has resulted in the McMaster Modular Assessment Program, and I must say, even after all of the literature I’ve read, Dr. Boud’s paper really synthesized and summarized some really pragmatic tips that I will be taking to the bedside.
As a learner, I was always the pesky learner that asked for feedback… and I recall being quite aggressive in asking for specific ways to improve my burgeoning practice. Now, as a junior clinician educator that is interested in assessment and feedback, I have lived my life with trying to figure out how to best design a system that creates the opportunities for residents to do the same.
At times, I worry that by being too much of an educational designer, I am removing the agency from the learner, and decreasing the impetus for them to self-direct this feedback. Recently, I have read the book by Stone & Heen which emphasizes the key skill of receiving feedback well (Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well).
And so, I am wondering if I might engage The Clinical Teacher audience in a discussion around the idea of feedback using these three questions:
- Q1: Are we ‘babying’ learners these days too much by creating systems that encourage feedback?
- Q2: Or does the system need to be there to provide a scaffold for learners so that they might one day more fully participate in the feedback experience?
- Q3: Ultimately, what is the role of the adult health professions learner in the feedback process?
Please drop a line below to reply to these questions (and be sure to mark which question you’re answering using Q1/Q2/Q3). Feel free to tweet around this using the hashtag #ClinTeach.