Are Australian medical students being taught to teach? Academic Article uri icon


  • The current global trend of growth in medical training is increasing the demand for the teaching and supervision of medical students and junior doctors. If well trained and supported, junior doctors and medical students represent an important teaching resource. Unfortunately, there is limited evidence available on whether Australian medical students are equipped with teaching skills. This study aimed to gain insight into the type and amount of teaching-skills training and peer-to-peer teaching present in Australian medical schools.A survey of Australian medical schools was conducted between May and December 2014. An online 22-item questionnaire was sent to all 19 Australian medical schools.The response rate to the questionnaire was 100 per cent. Eleven Australian medical schools reported offering a teaching-skills programme, of which five were described as compulsory formal programmes. Eight schools did not offer such a programme, citing time restraints and other subjects taking higher priority. Formal peer-to-peer teaching opportunities were described by 17 schools, with 13 offering this electively. Two schools reported that they did not offer such opportunities because of time restraints, the belief that the quality of expert teaching is superior and because of a lack of staffing. The demand for the teaching and supervision of medical students and junior doctors is increasing CONCLUSIONS: Despite the increasing number of medical students and subsequently junior doctors in Australia, a minority of Australian medical schools report including a formal, compulsory teaching-skills programme. These results may imply a lost opportunity to use the positive effects of teaching-skills programmes, and are in line with studies from other countries.

publication date

  • 2017