The value of teachers’ study tours abroad as a professional development

Guðrún Þorsteinsdóttir, Trausti Þorsteinsson


This paper reports a research project that aimed to explore the value of study tours abroad for elementary and lower-secondary school-teachers professional development. During the period 2008–2011 grants from the educational funds of the Teacher Union in Iceland (Verkefna- og námsstyrkjasjóður FG og SÍ) were spent to promote such visits but the fund´s main function is to allow union members the opportunity to gain further education and enhance professional development. The paper focuses on three aspects related to study tours abroad. First, the preparation and aims of such visits are analysed. Second, the planning of these visits is described and lastly the overall gains in the light of the fund’s main function for the participating schools in terms of professional development are evaluated. Visit reports were analysed covering the period 2008–2011. In addition, six interviews were conducted with principals representing schools that participated in such visits in the year 2011. The overall conclusion indicates that the value of study tours and study visits may be limited for professional development. They aimed rather at promoting the staff´s ethos than contributing to the development of the whole school organisation.


Study tour; professionalism; professional development.

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