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Lenses of Partnership

TEAN and APTE - Working together towards effective partnership

Partnership is being redefined in education; seismic shifts in the landscape of partnership are leading to questions concerning this redefinition and these questions must be addressed. On March 13th 2012, colleagues from a wide range of Higher Education Institutions in England gathered in London to debate the challenges and possibilities offered by new ways of looking at partnership. The challenge was to address notions of partnership, to contest or possibly reaffirm the lenses through which we view partnership - and the delegates certainly rose to this challenge.

TEAN, the Teacher Education Advancement Network, in collaboration with APTE, the Association for Partnership in Education asked delegates to consider present partnership relationships with a view to teasing out what new challenges are presenting themselves. Delegates considered what evidence we can share about strengths in partnership and the shared goals and beliefs which should underpin effective partnerships. At the end of the day delegates presented recommendations for ways forward. TEAN would like to thank Simon Asquith, University of Cumbria, Chair of APTE and d’Reen Struthers, Roehampton University, a member of the APTE committee, for the inspiration for the day and their invaluable help both before and on the day itself.

Professor Gordon Kirk

TEAN and APTE were delighted to welcome Professor Gordon Kirk to open the day with a thought-provoking keynote: Partnership; Where now? Professor Kirk was formerly Dean of Education and Vice-Principal at the University of Edinburgh. He is now Academic Secretary to UCET (Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers). He has written widely on partnership in teacher education. His current work is concerned with the knowledge base in teacher education and its implications for partnership. Professor Kirk reminded us of the value of university partnership: strong expertise in teacher education and CPD; intellectual capital; awards and other forms of recognition; strength of administrative systems. He posed the question of how you integrate the two knowledge bases of school and university and suggested some different lenses through which to look at partnership: professional context and business context. With good ideas and much food for thought, he suggested that what was needed was a clear strategy and urged delegates not to sit back, but to be proactive.

Download Professor Kirk's presentation

Dr Linda Rush

To continue the debate in the afternoon sessions, TEAN and APTE were very pleased to welcome Dr Linda Rush from Liverpool Hope University to give the afternoon keynote, giving us an example from her institution of successful partnership working which delegates were then able to consider in the light of their own situation. Dr Rush is Vice Dean of the Education Faculty at Liverpool Hope University. She is working on a signature pedagogy of partnership which represents a paradigm shift in thinking about teacher learning at Liverpool Hope, repositioning the focus of learning from content to concepts and towards a vision in which key learning dispositions and capacities are fore grounded for all involved. Dr Rush advised us that this is a work in progress and that all are still learning; there is no quick fix. She explained a model of partnership which is unpredictable and therefore somewhat ‘scary’; there is no ‘director of partnership’ at Liverpool Hope. Collaboration is challenging and disturbing and there is a need for both ‘intra’ and ‘inter’ collaboration. However the message is firmly that change to partnership should be viewed as a ‘moment of opportunity’ to be seized for the benefits it can offer.

You can download a copy of Dr Rush's ‘A systematic reflection on the promotion of a signature pedagogy of partnership in the Initial Teacher Education context at Liverpool Hope University’, by clicking on the button below.

Download Dr Rush's Paper

Group Notes

Download group debate notes

Many thanks to d'Reen Struthers from APTE and Roehampton University for synthesising the energy of the day into this useful document which considers fears and anxieties, and then goes on to suggest valuable recommendations for the sector.

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