Developing high quality school - university partnerships through evidence based collaborative projects

Year: 2017

Author: Winslade, Matthew, Clarke, Deb, Ayrton, Alison, Tribolet, Kelly

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

based collaborative projects
An essential component of initial teacher education courses is the integration of professional experience within course design, to facilitate student teachers transitioning into the profession. Professional experiences provide authentic opportunities for tertiary students to immerse themselves in a working environment. To be successful this requires relationships between universities and partner institutions. However, these relationships also have the potential to create tensions between the theoretical underpinnings of the university and the practicality associated with the school environment. Le Cornu (2015) proffers that whilst professional experience is pivotal to initial teacher education the concept is far "from problem free" (p.1).
High quality partnerships have been defined as those "that involve a shared responsibility by the stakeholders for initial teacher education and a willingness to work together" (Parliament of Australia, 2007). In order to establish and maintain working relationships, requires a commitment to careful and strategic planning. Further, there is increasing recognition that for these partnerships to be sustainable there needs be wider systematic support. With this in mind and in the spirit of collaboration, the New South Wales Department of Education (NSWDE) launched the "hub" initiative, designed to bring together NSWDE schools and universities at a regional level to develop high quality sustainable relationships. The Bathurst Hub initiative, established in 2016, linked the Charles Sturt University (CSU), School of Teacher Education with Denison College in order to examine ways to better support students transitioning in to the teaching profession.
Baseline data were collected through survey (n=99) and semi structured interviews (n=22) with stakeholders to identify a number of evidence based partnership projects to be implemented. As a result, 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. These projects included i) a University processes review, ii) a valuing the practicum school based review, iii) SWIVL and classroom resources pilot, iv) University and College Professional Experience subject partnership; and v) professional development mentoring project. This research outlines the projects' inter connected nature and the role in supporting initial teacher education students' transition to the profession.