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Staff Mobility Improves Teaching

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 12 March 17 2020

March 2020

Earlier in 2019 (April) Frontiers, the interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, published an article “Learning to Teach in the Field” on the positive impact of international staff mobility on the participating academics’ teaching philosophies and classroom strategies. The study focuses on a specific form of joint international student and staff mobility: the ‘study tour’ consisting of visits to places that are specifically relevant to the course of study, rather than going to a university in another country and give and take lectures there.

The article is based on interviews with 5 academics who run/ran such three-week study tours. All academics indicated that it is hard work – harder even than anticipated – but that the rewards are not only in the deep impact on the students, but also on their self-perceived quality of classroom teaching upon return.

A thought that came to me reading the article: Organising a study tour may be rewarding, but is intensely time-consuming for academics with an acute lack of time. Might it be an option to make “organise an international study tour” an assignment in a training course of academics to enhance their teaching competence – training courses to teach in universities are becoming more and more standard practice.

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