Partnerships in Initial Teacher Education: Participants’ perspectives of a ‘teacher teaching teachers’ model

Year: 2021

Author: Stephens, Graham, Martin, Jenny, Gutierrez, Amanda

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Abstract: The focus of the presentation is rethinking school-university partnerships in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and the theory practice connection. It identifies a response to numerous national and international publications and government reports which have strongly advocated for changes in the way ITE is undertaken. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: firstly, to present the results of an investigation of participants’ perspectives of a ‘teachers teaching teachers’ model of ITE provision (in this case from a College of Higher Education) and secondly, to add insight into well-known challenges associated with school-university partnerships in ITE. In the ‘teachers teaching teachers’ model, the College of Higher Education extended its physical boundaries to include the partnering schools and employed teachers at the schools as educators. Cultural-historical Activity Theory was used to theorise school-university partnerships in the boundary space between two systems. In this boundary space, the purpose of ITE provision is conceptualised as a shared object. Semi-structured individual interviews with participating school principals, mentor teachers, university lecturers and preservice teachers were conducted after the conclusion of the program. This systematic study of participant perspectives was used to gain insight into how the model negotiated the university-school partnership and especially in the context of a theory-practice nexus. The results of open and axial coding were generated using NVivo reports and participants’ small stories were selected as representative. The small stories together show how the ‘teachers teaching teachers’ model provided resources for the participants in a boundary space that was generative of new mediating factors (e.g. divisions of labour) that solved for the participants contradictions in ITE provision and thus allowed for emergence of new forms of practice. The research illustrates the importance of authentic divisions of labour in building strong university-school partnerships for the purpose of ITE provision and the need for more research from the perspectives of all stakeholders to support a theorisation of effective partnerships between schools and ITE providers.