The purpose of this study was to test a three-day course model for medical school faculty designed to promote self-directed learning, teaching skills, personal awareness and interdisciplinary collegiality. The training program described was conducted three times in our medical school. Fifty-eight faculty from 11 clinical departments have participated in this intensive experience of learning how to teach, based on principles of learner-centered learning and adult education theory. Participants defined their own learning objectives and worked collaboratively in facilitated small groups to develop teaching skills. Reflection groups engaged in discussion on critical incidents of experience as teachers and learners, and promoted awareness regarding personal approaches to teaching. Qualitative and quantitative data showed that the course was effective in: (1) providing an academically and emotionally safe environment for learning; (2) enabling participants to recognize and value learner-centered learning; (3) increasing participant personal awareness, and (4) promoting interdisciplinary collegiality. End-of-course data assessing the following course attributes, using a five-point scale, where 1 was 'not effective' and 5 was 'very effective', showed: (a) exploration of needs: mean 4.20 ± SD 0.91; (b) interactive sharing of ideas; mean 4.60 ± SD 0.58; (c) opportunity to receive feedback: mean 4.26 ± SD 0.80; (d) opportunity to practice new skills; mean 4.11 ± SD 0.72. In terms of participation in further faculty development, 92% of participants committed themselves to continue the work begun at the course. It was concluded that the faculty development program created a safe, learner-centered environment for participants that promoted both awareness of and commitment to self-directed learning, and facilitated teaching skill development and interdisciplinary collegiality. Our threeday course appears to be highly effective in initiating a long-term faculty development process. Additionally, we conclude that there is a need for longitudinal follow-up to support and expand mastery of these teaching skills.
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