Exploring the Impact of a Teacher Study Group in an Italian University
This study explored the impact of a teacher study group involving twelve senior faculty over a five month period at University of Padova, Italy. The objective was to improve teaching and promote community building by reflecting, sharing and practicing teaching and learning activities within a small group. Theoretically the study is framed from a model of faculty development and
transformative learning theory. Using a qualitative design this study explored what motivated faculty to participate in this group, the benefits of the group experience and the impact group experience on how participants thought about teaching and learning. Findings reveal for this group they had a real passion for teaching and desire to improve their practice. However, despite the power of the learning community change was small, incremental and reflected more
in new ideas about teaching and not definitive change. The outcomes of this study have significant implications for faculty development within an Italian higher education setting, such that teacher study groups need to be long term, capitalize on learning through faculty relationships and that the responsibility of change doesn’t reside exclusively within the faculty, the larger institutional
context plays a significant role as well.
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