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ABS067 - Developing teaching quality in higher education through peer teacher support groups

2.6 Dialogue and the co-construction of knowledge
10:30 AM, Friday 1 Sep 2017 (20 minutes)
The paper analyses how university teachers observe and give peer-based feedback on teaching in so-called Peer Teacher Support Groups (PTSGs). These groups are composed of five university teachers from different disciplines, brought together as part of a compulsory professional development program for academic staff. The aim of the study is to conduct an in-depth analysis of how the discussions in the PTGS influence on the participants' reflections about student learning and teaching practices in general as well as in their own disciplines. Theoretically, the paper draws on Cultural Historical Activity Theory, more specifically on the conceptions of boundary object and boundary zones (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Engeström & Sannino, 2010; Jarheie & Ludvigsen, 2007; Tsui & Law, 2007). Empirically the study is based on a combination of video-observations, interviews and document analysis. These data were collected longitudinally over a period of 6 months. The analysis of the PTSG data revealed a collaborative space in which the participants questioned, challenged, and partially transformed their teaching. The data also revealed how cross-disciplinary notions on teaching and student learning were applied. The analysis identifies both the pre-defined structure in the PTGS and the participant’s instructional memos as significant boundary objects. A general finding is that these artifacts opened a discursive space bringing together diverging disciplinary sites, which were made relevant to the whole group.
Department of Education, Univeristy of Oslo
University of Oslo
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