History and future plans

History

The work of tEACH began at a session during the EACH Warwick Conference 2002. The tEACH committee was officially formed at the EACH Conference in Brugge 2004.  At the Brugge Conference, 53 participants representing 16 countries in the workshop ‘An international network of teachers of medical interviewing’ established working groups and an action plan for meeting the goals of the network.

In 2008, the committee was re-established as an expanded working-group that involved 41 key stakeholders as representatives from 21 European countries. This initiative was designed not only to involve representatives of all European countries but also create a highly active working group to generate products of use to all teachers of communication in health care in Europe. The concept was to include people from a variety of constituencies in communication teaching, including undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and the education of all health professionals. The committee was envisaged to only involve people who are “do-ers”, with the motivation to help achieve significant outcomes and put time and energy towards this. Rather than a sterile committee, this was to be an active group working in between meetings in subgroups to achieve distinct products.

All participants recruited to the working group are involved in curricular development, teaching or assessing communication skills. The different professions represented in the group include medicine, midwifery, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and psychology. Working group meetings are held biannually in a different European country each time.

The first 7 years (2008-2015) of the expanded working group have focused their efforts into development of resources for communication teachers, including collecting and peer reviewing a wide variety of teaching tools and assessment instruments; train the trainer courses focusing on experiential teaching, teaching content, curriculum development and assessment; and development of a consensus based core communication skills curriculum for all health professions. Information about these resources can be found on the tEACH webpages.

In 2015, we expanded the membership of tEACH through an open, peer reviewed nomination process. 10 new members were added (and some previous members left the group) including people from countries not previously represented (e.g. Australia, Canada, South Africa) as well as underrepresented health care disciplines (e.g. Physiotherapy, Optometry, Nursing).

For an overview of the current tEACH organisation and who’s who, click here

Future plans

As well as continuing its current activities, future tEACH efforts will be focused on expanding the visibility of tEACH so people use and submit resources for communication teachers, providing guidance for use of existing tEACH resources, and facilitating networking between communication teachers both within countries and disciplines and also between countries throughout Europe and beyond.

As part of this effort, in  2016  tEACH established time limited project groups to spend 1 year focusing on developing and collecting additional resources as well as supporting the establishment of networks and local programmes to support communication teachers. The project groups and their aims include:

Video bank: develop a collection of videos that will be available to EACH members to be used for communication teaching.

“Sharing Expertise” site for communication teachers: In collaboration with rEACH, the research committee of tEACH, this group will work to create a searchable database of people involved in communication teaching and/or assessment who are willing to share their expertise with others.

Local courses support: will produce a comprehensive framework for trainers of healthcare communication teachers to help guide the development and delivery of local courses in individual countries by local trainers under the auspices of tEACH.

Sharing evidence to support communication education: producing summaries of evidence to support the efforts of communication teachers.

Cross cultural communication teaching: the group will produce a portfolio and map of cross cultural teaching tools and supportive literature to be available to communication teachers as they develop and enhance curriculum focused on this important topic.

Workplace based teaching and assessment: collect and develop resources that enhance the transfer of skills from the classroom to the clinical workplace.

In addition to these new project groups, tEACH also has several continuing working subgroups whose efforts support to work of communication teachers.  These subgroups and highlights of some of their ongoing work includes:

Assessment:  The Assessment subgroup continues to collect communication assessment tools to be included in the searchable database as well as providing an annual course on assessment and a summary paper of general principles of communication assessment.

Courses and support for trainers:  This subgroup provides annual “train the trainer” courses on What to Teach, How to Teach, Curriculum Development and Assessment (in collaboration with the Assessment group).  The group is now offering a Certificate of Indepth Study in Communication Skills Education in which participants apply the skills learnt in tEACH courses to a specific teaching, curriculum or assessment project with mentoring from a tEACH member. In addition, the group has provided local courses on these and related topics in a number of countries including Norway, Moldova, Ireland, Poland, South Africa, Sri Lanka and others.

Networking: The aim of this subgroup is to support the establishment and enhancement of networks of communication teachers within individual countries and healthcare disciplines.  In addition to resources to support these efforts on the tEACH webpages, this subgroup is working with the research (rEACH) and policy (pEACH) subcommittees to establish mechanisms through which  those involved in communication in healthcare can identify one another and share their expertise nationally and within different healthcare disciplines.

Curriculum: Ongoing efforts of this subgroup focus on evaluating and expanding the application of the Health Care Professions Core Curriculum (HPCCC), the consensus based objectives for communication curriculum, in several different countries and health care disciplines.

Teaching tools:  This subgroup has spearheaded the development of the searchable database of teaching tools available on the EACH website.  This group will continue to collect teaching tools from communication teachers and refine the functions of this database.

tEACH welcomes queries from communication teachers interested in submitting resources , sharing expertise and/or interested in having curriculum development and trainer programmes within their countries and institutions.