The role of group work in teaching general practice specialty registrars

Graham Rutt, Julie Eccles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


With the onset of the new assessment procedures and regulations requiring GP trainees to have one general practice-based educational supervisor throughout their training programme, there are fears that course organisers and trainers will spend an increasing amount of time conducting assessments and appraisals, and less time teaching trainees, to the detriment of their learning. The new GP curriculum is explicit about the areas in which GP trainees should be proficient. The Learning and Teaching Guide emphasises the importance of reflecting on experience as part of the learning process, and comments on the importance of group work in providing peer support, the shaping of attitudes and preparation for assessments. This paper forms a review of the effectiveness of facilitated group work and its role in delivering the new curriculum in a way that complements, supports and is integrated with the teaching that trainers provide and self-directed learning sets. The teaching of the curriculum for general practice within three years is only possible because of the structured teaching that exists within its training programmes, and removal of group work would reduce the time that the GP trainees have for reflective learning by up to a third as well as removing the peer aspect of their learning. Facilitators have an important role to play in maximising the benefits of group work by concentrating on maintaining its safety for the participants and its focus. The use of group work does not replace the teaching of evidence-based medicine or in-house teaching: it enhances and encourages it. However, a better understanding of the role of each would enhance the whole.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-513
JournalEducation for Primary Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


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