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Title: What makes a mobility champion? Qualitative insights on teachers’ mobility experiences
Author: Barbosa, Belém
Santos, Cláudia
Filipe, Sandra
Pinheiro, Margarida
Simões, Dora
Dias, Gonçalo
Keywords: Teacher Mobility
Higher Education Institutions
Erasmus Mobility Program
Mobility Champions
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Teachers’ mobility is one of the facets of Higher Education Institutions internationalization, and despite its importance in implementing the program's purposes it is still disregarded by researchers, with most mobility studies focusing on students. This research concentrates on highly active mobility teachers and aims to delve into their experiences, namely by identifying facilitators and goals for this repeated internationalization and by analyzing the outcomes of these initiatives in their personal lives, professional activity, home and host students, and for their Universities as a whole. This study adopts a qualitative exploratory approach. Having as sample universe the teachers of one Portuguese University that in a 7-year period (2009-2016) engaged in mobility experiences under the Erasmus program (N = 107), 8 were identified as having the highest number of initiatives and were invited to participate in this study. From these mobility champions, 5 accepted, resulting in 5 phenomenological interviews. Data was collected in January 2017. The participants shared an integrated view of the Erasmus mobility, being essential for its success the additional opportunities of joint research and the strengthening of international relationships and networks. Prior relations with teachers from the host University and ongoing research projects stood out among the facilitators. The opportunity to observe and get to know other cultural settings was also mentioned as one determinant stimulus. Still, the outcomes in terms of teaching methodologies and best practices as well an effective impact in home students seemed residual. Moreover, the ability to encourage other teachers to join the program was very limited, often confined to close colleagues and research partners. Despite its exploratory nature, this study demonstrates the relevance of further research on mobility champions to assess the success and possible pitfalls of repeated mobility experiences in terms of extended institutional outcomes and well as individual gratification of the teachers involved. Based on the results, we suggest the consideration of a wider set of outcomes in the appraisal of mobility initiatives, as well as the widespread of champions’ insights on the topic in order to motivate inexperienced teachers to embrace internationalization. Hopefully this paper is able to inspire not only research but also teaching mobility initiatives.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0359
Appears in Collections:ISCA-UA - Comunicações
CIDTFF - Comunicações
ESTGA - Comunicações
GOVCOPP - Comunicações

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