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Transforming teaching into scholarship


  • Funding: The printing and distribution of the Clinican-Educator’s Handbook were funded, in part, by an unrestricted educational grant from Mead Johnson Nutritionals.

  • Conflict of interest: None.

  • Ethical approval: Not required.

Corresponding author’s contact details: Dr Teri Turner, Texas Children’s Hospital, Clinical Care Center, Suite 1540, 6701 Fannin Street, Houston, Texas 77030, USA. E-mail:


Background:  Traditionally, scholarship has been defined very narrowly as the number of one’s publications and grant awards. Recently this definition has broadened to include dissemination of knowledge, experience or a tangible product shared with the educational community.

Context:  In an effort to enhance our own educational development, in 2005 we formed a ‘community of practice’ centred on teaching. The group was formed to share ideas, to reflect on teaching experiences and to transmit new knowledge to other clinician-educators within our paediatrics department.

Innovation:  By examining what we do as clinicians and teachers, we were able to gather information about how we teach and how our students learn. As we reflected on this information within our small learning community, we began to realise the value of other people’s input as a great source of learning. One of our first activities as a community was to develop a series of conferences on clinical teaching. We also asked ourselves how we could transform what we were doing into educational scholarship. It occurred to us that the conference topics could be the chapters of a book. Therefore, we chose to create a handbook that was a ‘learning journal’ on teaching.

Implications:  We transformed the initial list of conference topics to scholarship by using a three-phase model for transforming teaching into scholarship. Using this framework, we have demonstrated how clinician-educators can transform teaching activities into scholarship, and how important a community of practice can be for professional development.