Introducing a conceptual framework for collaborative professionalism in teacher education

Year: 2018

Author: Adie, Lenore

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In times of global change, societal flux and economic uncertainty, teacher education and specifically, teacher quality has come to the top of many governments’ levers for educational change and improvement. Of concern, is that currently teacher education has a limited evidence base from which to justify practices and promote changes to practice. Where studies have been conducted, these have generally been localised small scale studies, dominated by qualitative research methodologies. We propose that it is through a model of collaborative professionalism that the quality and impact of initial teacher education may be most effectively researched and demonstrated. Collaborative professionalism in teacher education brings together multiple perspectives and voices to research and analyse how professional competence is construed and identify the aspects that are valued by those in the teacher education community. In several countries there are growing opportunities for teacher educators to work with their preservice teachers, school colleagues, policy officers, regulatory and employing authorities and with each other to inform and shape the profession.
In this presentation, we describe a conceptual framework of collaborative professionalism in teacher education. The framework forms the basis of our discussions of enacted practice across the university and program contexts. The term “collaborative professionalism” is based on Hargreaves and O’Connor’s (2017) international research into teachers working and learning together with the goal of improving practice and student learning. Hargreaves and O’Connor (2017) describe collaboration as “the new chorus line for innovation and improvement” (p. 1) but pose that it is the quality and effectiveness of the collaboration that is of utmost importance. The authors coin the term ‘collaborative professionalism’ to focus on deeper and more rigorous forms of collaboration. As they point out, bringing parties together to collaborate may meet a systemic requirement but may not achieve any worthwhile outcomes. Collaborative professionalism, on the other hand, is based on evidence to inform “rigorous planning, deep, and sometimes demanding dialogue, candid but constructive feedback, and continuous collaborative inquiry” (Hargreaves & O’Connor, 2017, p. vi). These practices then become part of the social and cultural ways of knowing, doing and being for all groups aligned with a profession.
Hargreaves, A. & O’Connor, M. T. (2017). Collaborative professionalism. Retrieved from