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Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

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Faculty Development Tips

November 2016:Twelve tips for incorporating educational theory into teaching practices

June 2016:Twelve tips on writing abstracts and titles: How to get people to use and cite your work.

February 2016:Twelve tips for getting your manuscript published
Six laws of Learning

July 2015:Twelve tips for teaching evidence-based physical examination

April 2015:Twelve tips for increasing transfer of training from faculty development programs

December 2014: Twelve tips for teaching with ultrasound in the undergrad curriculum

October 2014: Twelve tips for a successful interprofessional team-based high-fidelity simulation education session

June 2014: Twelve Tips for using social media as a Medical Educator

Past Tips

  • December 2013 : How we Learn and How we Teach

    Think about the most important lessons learned in life.
    Write one on the front of six index cards.
    On the back write as much you can remember about the circumstances surrounded that event.
    Looked for patterns—things those learning events had in common.
    Where did they happen? In school or in less formal settings? How many involved teachers? What kind of feelings accompanied the learning? Was the learning hard? Was it planned or did it evolve out of unexpected circumstances? How often was the learning about correcting a misunderstanding, gaining a new insight, or deepening a current understanding? The index card activity is a great exercise. It's a way to get thinking about the kind of learning that lasts…thinking about the implications of how we've learned in terms of how we could or should teach.

    By Maryellen Weimer, PhD, reference: White, Harold B. (2013). Do you teach the way you learn? Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 41 (3), 187-188.

  • November 2013: How to Provide Effective Feedback

    Providing Effective Feedback: Tips

    The following recommendations for providing feedback are based on the classic article entitled, Feedback in Clinical Education, by Jack Ende (1983).
    • Self-Assessment: Before giving feedback, ask the learner to self-assess. The teacher might say, "How do you think you did?"
    • Balanced: Provide both positive and critical comments. Begin with the positive comments, then specify where something needs changed, and then end with encouragement. This is called the feedback sandwich.
    • Well-Timed: Feedback should be given close to the time of the performance. Immediate feedback is usually best.
    • Descriptive & Specific: focus on what the student did, not on personal characteristics. Generalizations such as, "That was a good presentation" are not helpful. The reinforcement is okay but the teacher should also say why the case presentation was good.
    • Regularly Provided: Feedback should not be a surprise. it is often provided only when the learner has done something wrong. Establishing a routine of regular feedback prevents this.
    • References and Resources Courtesy of Dr. Steve Davis, Ph.D., Director, Office of Faculty Development of Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • August 2013: Student Comments: Moving from Participation to Contribution

  • March 2013: Successful & Unsuccessful Teaching Principles To Improve Medical Education [PDF]

    The Tip of the Month is courtesy of Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Office of Faculty Development, Stephen S. Davis PhD, Director,

  • February 2013: Using Goodreader to Keep Journal Articles Organzied, Aid Research

    The App Of The Week is a new feature of Faculty Focus written by Dave Yearwood, PhD, associate professor and chair of the technology department at the University of North Dakota.  

    Dave is an avid collector of apps and is always on the lookout for new ones that can improve student learning or simply make academic life more organized, productive and fun.  Through this column, he’ll provide tips for getting started, app reviews, best practices, sneak peeks, and more. Guest contributors will provide reviews as well.  Here is this week’s entry: Using Goodreader to Keep Journal Articles Organized, Aid Research By: Jonathan Messer in App Of The Week

    In preparing for my own dissertation research, I began getting electronic copies of journal articles so that I would not be burdened with lots of paper copies and for better file organization. I also did not want to read the copies while sitting at my computer but to use my iPad instead. While reading any journal article there is a need to markup the copy with personal notes, highlights, underlines, and other helpful markings so I needed a program that would allow me to do that on my mobile device. Read More » 

    The Tip of the Month is courtesy of Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Office of Faculty Development, Steve Davis PhD, Director,

  • January 2013: Three Ways to Ask Better Questions

    Good questions make students think, they encourage participation and I think they improve the caliber of the answers students give and the questions they ask. There are three actions that have the potential to improve our questioning:

    1. Prepare Questions - Go to class with some prepared questions. When you write out a question, you can make it clearer ... not just the wording, but clearer conceptually. Is it the question that needs to be asked? When is the best time to ask it? ...if you try it, you'll be persuaded.

    2. Play with Questions - Questions are most powerful, when they best engage students, and when they are at their thought provoking best. It's in that space between the question and the answer. As soon as the question is answered, it loses most of its power to engage students.

    Playing with the question means leaving it unanswered for a while and using some strategies that encourage students to think about it. The question might appear on a PowerPoint slide or written on the board. Students might be encouraged to write the question in their notes. They might be given a bit of time to write some ideas or discuss potential responses with another student. The teacher might collect several different answers, discussing their various merits and detriments before designating a right one. Maybe the question appears at the beginning of the period but isn't answered until the session is almost over. Maybe an answered question returns on a subsequent day when more information and greater understanding enables a better answer.

    3. Preserve Good Questions - Good questions can be kept. They can be asked in a subsequent class, perhaps revised or refocused so that they accomplish the good question goals even more effectively. Sometimes I jotted a few notes about the answers students offered and discovered that helped me revise the question and content surrounding it.

    Occasionally a student asks a really good question and there are reasons to save those as well. When you solicit questions and there aren't any, but you think there should be, you might be able to start the process this way, "While you are thinking of questions, let me share one a student in a previous class asked about this." The teacher I first saw doing this also “oohed” and “aahed” a bit about the question and using student questions this way demonstrated how he remembered and valued what students ask.

    We should be working on our questioning techniques, but not just because our questions are more effective when skillfully used. We need to ask good questions so that students see the importance of questions - how they make us think and help us learn. Eventually students may start asking better questions themselves, including ones we can't answer. And those are the best questions of all.

    The Tip of the Month is courtesy of Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Office of Faculty Development, Steve Davis PhD, Director,

  • December 2012: Five Tips for Creating a Learner-Centered Experience for Your Students

    1. Engage students in the hard, messy work of learning. As teachers we are doing too many learning tasks for students. We ask the questions, we call on students, we add detail to their answers. We offer the examples. We organize the content. We do the preview and the review. On any given day, in most classes teachers are working much harder than students. Students won’t develop sophisticated learning skills without the chance to practice and in most classrooms the teacher gets far more practice than the students. 
    2. Includes explicit skill instruction. Learner-centered teachers teach students how to think, solve problems, evaluate evidence, analyze arguments, generate hypotheses—all those learning skills essential to mastering material in the discipline. They do not assume that students pick up these skills on their own, automatically. A few students do, but they tend to be the students most like us and most students aren't that way. Research consistently confirms that learning skills develop faster if they are taught explicitly along with the content. 
    3. Encourages students to reflect on what they are learning and how they are learning it. Learner-centered teachers talk about learning. In casual conversations, they ask students what and how they are learning.  In class they may talk about their own learning. They challenge student assumptions about learning and encourage them to accept responsibility for decisions they make about learning; like how they study for exams, when they do assigned reading, whether they revise their writing or check their answers.  Learner-centered teachers include assignment components in which students reflect, analyze and critique what they are learning and how they are learning it.  The goal is to make students aware of themselves as learners and to make learning skills something students want to develop. 
    4. Motivates students by giving them some control over learning processes.  Teachers make too many of the decisions about learning for students.  Teachers decide what students should learn, how they learn it, the pace at which they learn, the conditions under which they learn and then teachers determine whether students have learned.  Students aren't in a position to decide what content should be included in the course or which textbook is best, but when teachers make all the decisions, the motivation to learn decreases and learners become dependent.  Learner-centered teachers search out ethically responsible ways to share power with students.

      They might give students some choice about which assignments they complete.  They might make classroom policies something students can discuss.  They might let students set assignment deadlines within a given time window.  They might ask students to help create assessment criteria. 
    5. Encourages collaboration. View classrooms (online or face-to-face) as communities of learners.  Learner-centered teachers recognize, and research consistently confirms, that students can learn from and with each other.  Certainly the teacher has the expertise and an obligation to share it, but teachers can learn from students as well.  Learner-centered teachers work to develop structures that promote shared commitments to learning.  They see learning individually and collectively as the most important goal of any educational experience.

    The Tip of the Month is courtesy of Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Office of Faculty Development, Steve Davis PhD, Director,