Intended for healthcare professionals


How to be involved in peer teaching

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 22 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:l6897
  1. Rebecca Choong, internal medicine trainee1,
  2. Fiona Macauslan, volunteer junior doctor coach2
  1. 1Acute internal medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London
  2. 2Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London
  1. rebecca.choong1{at}

In peer teaching, learners are taught by those similar in age or at a similar educational stage. Many peer teaching programmes in medical school involve junior students being taught by senior students.1 Some evidence suggests that the closer learners are in training stage to their teacher, the better the learning outcomes.2 This might be because peers have better ideas of the relative importance of different topics.3 Students also say that peer teaching enables them to direct their own education.4

Peer teaching doesn’t just help learners—teachers can benefit too.45 It provides an opportunity for revision and furthering knowledge. Developing ways to explain challenging concepts to peers promotes effective communication skills, which are essential for working in teams and with patients.

This article provides some tips on how to set up a peer teaching initiative on the basis of the authors’ experiences.

Where do peers teach?

Small group bedside teaching

This type of teaching can be coordinated formally within a whole year group, or ad hoc by a group of students on placement. It is particularly useful preparation for OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations) and is most effective in groups of three to five. Students take turns in playing the roles of examiner and candidate.

Revision lectures

You …

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