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Amplifying staff development through film: the case of a university staff visit to a sixth form college

Prowse, AJ and Sweasey, P and Delbridge, R (2017) Amplifying staff development through film: the case of a university staff visit to a sixth form college. Education and Training, 59 (5). ISSN 0040-0912

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Abstract

Purpose: The literature on student transition to university commonly investigates student expectations, perceptions and experiences and rarely focuses on university academic staff viewpoints. This paper explores the staff development potential of a filmed visit of university academic staff to a sixth form college. Design/methodology/approach: The project created a space for eight university colleagues from a wide range of discipline areas in a large metropolitan university and ten college students from one local sixth form feeder college to observe and reflect on their experiences of learning and teaching in the two environments. Findings: Staff development episodes were subsequently designed to allow staff who had not attended the visit to comprehend the experiences of learning and teaching in colleges and promote a consideration of pedagogies for student transition. Observations and reflections from this ‘second audience’ are presented. Research limitations/implications:This was a case study of a visit of a small group of university academic staff to one Roman Catholic 6th form college who selected students to speak on film. The visit occurred just prior to final exams at the end of the academic year. Practical implications: Packaging the visit via film and workshop activity enabled university staff to hear their own colleagues’ reflections on how students learn in college and the step up to university study. This combination of vicarious/peer learning could be used in a range of staff development and training settings. Originality/value: This study explored a practical way of extending a small-scale episode of experiential staff development to a much larger staff audience via the use of filmed reflections of participants, combined with workshop activity and online comment and discussion.

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