To describe the formal teaching activities of pediatric residents and to assess how the act of formal teaching affects residents' acquisition and retention of knowledge.
Design and Methods
Randomized controlled trial. Forty-three pediatric residents in a university-based program were surveyed about their teaching activities, given a pretest on a predetermined topic (oral rehydration), then randomly assigned to either teach (n=18) or listen to (n=25) a 30-minute lecture on that topic; 6 to 8 weeks later they completed a posttest. The difference between pretest and posttest scores was calculated for each resident as an index of knowledge acquisition.
The mean number of resident teaching events per year was 3.5 for interns (n=16), 2.9 for junior residents (n=11), and 6.9 for senior residents (n=16). Self-reported comfort with the teaching role, ability to hold a group's attention, and desire to teach were similar across year of training. Prior to randomization, teachers (experimental group) reported less interest in oral rehydration than did listeners (control group) (P<.03). However, knowledge acquisition was significantly greater for teachers than for listeners (posttest score minus pretest score [mean±SD], 6.1±4.2 vs 3.2±2.5; P<.01).
Among pediatric residents, formal teaching enhances knowledge acquisition relative to self-study and lecture attendance.