Practice and Process: Investigating the Impact of Local Practice on the ISW Process

Amira Abdelrasoul, Wenona Partridge, Susan Bens

Although studies about the transformative impact of the Instructional Skill Workshop (ISW) have been conducted by Dawson, D., Borin, P., Meadows, K., Britnell, J., Olsen, K., & McIntyre, G. (2014) and Russell Day et al., (2004) these have as yet not examined the specific influence of local practice (Hager et al., 2012) on the ISW process. The goal of our exploratory study is to investigate the influence of local practices of teaching and learning on the overall learning process of the ISW. Our reasons for conducting this study include examining the assumptions that have emerged as part of the educational development practice at our own teaching and learning centre. These assumptions inform our view that holding an ISW for a single department or disciplinary area, which we identify as a local practice following Hager et al. (2004), introduces conflict to the ISW process. By conflict, we refer to a tendency within local practitioners to be preoccupied with content rather than strategies used to teach that content. We have thus far addressed this conflict by facilitating the ISW across diverse local practices. In our exploration, we use small case studies of ISWs offered within different local practices. We contrast the process of local practice ISWs with that of multiple practice ISWs held at the University of Saskatchewan. We critically analyze our observations on process, leaving space open on our poster for observers to contribute their own beliefs, experiences, and assumptions they might hold about process of facilitation involving local vs multiple practice participants. We seek to contribute to a culture of learning by challenging assumptions about the influence of local practice on the development and change of learning cultures in higher education through interventions such as the ISW.

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