The Politics of School-University Partnerships: Reconceptualising reciprocity in initial teacher education professional experience

Year: 2017

Author: Clarke, Deb, Winslade, Matthew, Ayrton, Alison, Letts, William, Zundans-Fraser, Lucie, Tribolet, Kelly

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

As teacher education students transition to the profession, the experiences offered by the university and partner institutions require intentional, careful, and strategic planning, to ensure positive relational, organisational, and pedagogical experiences for all stakeholders (Doe, 2011; Lynch & Smith, 2012; Moss, 2008; White et al., 2010). To acknowledge and account for the different worlds of the university and school, respectful and collaborative partnerships need to be central to the design and facilitation of professional experience programmes (Lynch & Smith, 2012).
The "Hub" is a longitudinal research and practice initiative funded by the NSW Department of Education, and comprises a partnership between a NSW regional university with initial teacher education programmes, and a local, multi-campus secondary College. The aims of the initiative are to develop increased reciprocity in the relationship between the partner institutions, strengthen relationships and ultimately provide closer alignment between the professional experience in the school and the course work undertaken at the university. Our strategic plan to achieve the aim and meet the goals, includes the evaluation and examination of the current practice of organising and administering the professional experience, identification of areas of strength and areas which need redress, and respond using an evidence base, to design collaborative processes to ensure quality Standards Informed experiences for Hub stakeholders.
The initial phase of the project involved the use of an online survey instrument to establish base line data from College teaching staff (n=99). The main aim of the survey was to provide baseline data to inform the development of the partnership.
Interview questions crafted from the results of survey data, were posed to consenting, purposively selected College staff (n=22) who provided further rich and powerful messages relating to the role, nature and current value of the Professional Experience programme. Three key thematic findings evolved from the data that needed redress: i) university workplace learning processes; ii) communication and organisational processes; and iii) in-school issues.
An array of interrelated strategic projects were collaboratively designed by the University and College Hub members, to enhance the quality of the professional experience programme.
This presentation will outline the results of the data, and describe the various projects of the Hub initiative, through an exploration of the politics and practice of reciprocity.