How learning preferences and teaching styles influence effectiveness of surgical educators

Karen J. Dickinson, Barbara L. Bass, Edward A. Graviss, Duc T. Nguyen, Kevin Y. Pei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Effective surgical educators have specific attributes and learner-relationships. Our aim was to determine how intrinsic learning preferences and teaching styles affect surgical educator effectiveness.

METHODS: We determined i) learning preferences ii) teaching styles and iii) self-assessment of teaching skills for all general surgery attendings. All general surgical residents in our program completed teaching evaluations of attendings.

RESULTS: Multimodal was the most common learning preference (20/28). Although the multimodal learning preference appears to be associated with more effective educators than kinesthetic learning preferences, the difference was not statistically significant (80.0% versus 66.7%, p = 0.43). Attendings with Teaching Style 5 were more likely to have a lower "professional attitude towards residents" score on SETQ assessment by residents (OR 0.33 (0.11, 0.96), p = 0.04). Attendings rated their own "communication of goals" (p < 0.001), "evaluation of residents" (p = 0.04) and "overall teaching performance" (p = 0.01) per STEQ domains as significantly lower than the resident's assessment of these cofactors.

CONCLUSION: Identification of factors intrinsic to surgical educators with high effectiveness is important for faculty development. Completion of a teaching style self-assessment by attendings could improve effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-260
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Educator
  • Learning
  • Preference
  • Teaching
  • Humans
  • Self-Assessment
  • Clinical Competence/statistics & numerical data
  • Faculty, Medical/psychology
  • Curriculum
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Internship and Residency/methods
  • Teaching/organization & administration
  • Specialties, Surgical/education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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