Basic steps in establishing effective small group teaching sessions in medical schools
Small-group teaching and learning has achieved an admirable position in medical education and has become more popular as a means of encouraging the students in their studies and enhance the process of deep learning. The main characteristics of small group teaching are active involvement of the learners in entire learning cycle and well defined task orientation with achievable specific aims and objectives in a given time period. The essential components in the development of an ideal small group teaching and learning sessions are preliminary considerations at departmental and institutional level including educational strategies, group composition, physical environment, existing resources, diagnosis of the needs, formulation of the objectives and suitable teaching outline. Small group teaching increases the student interest, teamwork ability, retention of knowledge and skills, enhance transfer of concepts to innovative issues, and improve the self-directed learning. It develops self-motivation, investigating the issues, allows the student to test their thinking and higher-order activities. It also facilitates an adult style of learning, acceptance of personal responsibility for own progress. Moreover, it enhances student-faculty and peer-peer interaction, improves communication skills and provides opportunity to share the responsibility and clarify the points of bafflement.