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Teach Learn Med. 2006 Spring;18(2):117-25.

Initial testing of an instrument to measure teacher identity in physicians.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, 01655, USA.



A previous study described 7 elements of teacher identity: intrinsic satisfaction from teaching, knowledge and skill about teaching, belonging to a community of teachers, receiving rewards for teaching, believing that being a doctor means being a teacher, feeling a responsibility to teach, and sharing clinical expertise.


To conduct the initial testing of an instrument to measure the 7 elements of teacher identity in clinical educators and to consider the potential applications of such an instrument.


A 37-item questionnaire was mailed to 153 preceptors of preclinical students. Categories reflected the elements of teacher identity listed here. Demographic data were collected. Means, alphas, ANOVAs, and paired t tests were calculated.


Of 153 preceptors, 127 (83%) completed the questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha for the overall scale and several subscales were high. Salaried physicians and those who had completed a faculty development program scored significantly higher on several subscales than physicians who volunteered to teach or who did not have faculty development.


This study provides preliminary evidence that teacher identity can be measured and that preceptors do not respond as a homogeneous group. Assessing teacher identity may be helpful to medical schools looking to identify and support physicians who teach.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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