5 Minute Teaching Time Outs: A String of Teaching Pearls

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Incorporating didactics designed to improve teaching skills into departmental agenda is challenging but necessary. Often lectures take place once a year with little continuing reinforcement. Five Minute Teaching Time Outs (5MTTO) were created to introduce and reinforce important teaching skills to all levels of educators. The goal was to incorporate them into routine departmental activities such as M&M/Grand Rounds.


A multicenter prospective survey was conducted to assess faculty, fellow and resident attitudes towards the 5MTTO. Six-5MTTOs were created to cover a broad range of teaching topics. These were presented over the year at routinely scheduled department meetings. Participants were asked to fill out an anonymous survey at the completion of each 5MTTO.


On average 45 participants were present at each 5MTTO among the 3 institutions, usually evenly split between faculty/fellows and residents. On average, after each session, participants agreed/strongly agreed that material from the individual 5MTTOs would influence their teaching approach 82–97% of the time. Over 92% of the time participants agreed/strongly agreed that 5 minutes was adequate and over 93% agreed/strongly agreed to having future 5MTTO.


Incorporating teaching skills into departmental activities can be difficult due to time constraints. Regular reinforcement is as important for educators as it is for learners. These 5MTTO are well-received by the department, fit into already scheduled activities and may influence the teaching behaviors of our clinician-educators.

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