Partnerships in performativity: The fabrication of School University Partnerships in Teacher Education

Year: 2019

Author: Nailer, Sarah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

School-University Partnerships have existed in a variety of forms in Australian teacher education since the 1990s. The adoption of a requirement that universities have “formal partnerships, agreed in writing” with schools for accreditation purposes has renewed the emphasis on School-University Partnerships in Initial Teacher Education (Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership, 2015, p. 17). This paper reports on findings from a qualitative study drawing on Foucauldian genealogy as its framework, in order to construct an “effective history” of School-University Partnerships in Australian Teacher Education. Policy analysis and interviews with 13 participants involved in School-University Partnerships including teacher educators, principals, teachers and policy workers have been used to construct this ‘effective history’. Ethics to conduct the interviews was granted by the institutional ethics committee as well as permission from the school sectors where some participants are based. Working with Ball’s (2003) notions of performativity and fabrication, School-University Partnerships are identified as a ‘regime of truth’, whereby partnerships are produced as “a spectacle” something that “is there simply to be seen and judged” (Ball, 2003, p. 222). Participants in this study acknowledged the inauthenticity of mandated partnerships and their desire to avoid fabrications in favour of what they saw as the ‘real’, ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ partnerships. These fabrications reinforce long held assumptions about schools and valorize their role in teacher education.


Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2015). Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures. Retrieved from [].

Ball, S.J. (2003). The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18 (2), 215-228.