Attitudes towards peer review of teaching in medical education
Introduction: Peer review of teaching is an important evaluation and development activity. Its use is well documented within US tertiary institutions but less common in the UK and Australia. While some research into prevalence, outcomes and opinions of peer review within medical education exists, documented implementation is uncommon. This topic is particularly underresearched within a rural and regional education context. This research sought opinions on peer review of teaching among medical educators and intended to ascertain levels of experience with, and ease of access to, peer review programmes across city, rural and international locations.
Methods: A purposefully designed questionnaire, seeking views and experiences of peer review of teaching, was sent to medical educators at the University of Melbourne (metropolitan-based Melbourne Medical School educators at multiple metropolitan hospitals; educators based at multiple Rural Clinical School campuses in regional Victoria) and the University of Manchester (based at Manchester Royal Infirmary). Information regarding teaching experience and qualifications, as well as previous experience with peer review, was also sought.
Results: Only 10.4% of respondents had a formal teaching qualification at postgraduate or masters level; 29.2% had previous experience of formal peer review. Respondents who reported teaching more hours per week were more likely to agree that formal peer review programmes would be beneficial to teaching development (r = 0.12; p = 0.05) and were also more likely to have the time to take part (r = 0.14; p = 0.02). The overall attitude towards peer review was favourable; 87.7% of respondents stated they would take part in a programme, and 90.6% were of the view that peer review improved teaching practice. There were no statistically-significant differences in opinions towards peer review across the three locations.
Conclusions: This study shows there is a significant unmet interest among medical educators for peer review of teaching, and it suggests this is particularly prevalent among rural and regional-based medical educators. Further, data suggests a voluntary and informative form of peer review is more likely to be embraced as an opportunity for professional development.
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