Situated Learning in a School–University Partnership: Integrating Partnership-Based Teacher Education With School-Based Educational Change

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Moore, Brett (2021) Situated Learning in a School–University Partnership: Integrating Partnership-Based Teacher Education With School-Based Educational Change. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The author investigates how a school–university partnership involving pre-service teachers (PSTs), mentors, teacher educators and students impacts the learning and engagement of participant stakeholders. The examination considers the purpose of an educational partnership in the context of a school’s transformation and improvement. The study is premised on an assumption that an effective partnership between a school and university in site-based teacher education, has the potential to improve the learning of students; enhance the quality of the practicum experience for PSTs; and promote opportunities in professional learning and growth for practising teachers, school leaders and teacher educators. The partnership raises questions about what learning looks like in a contemporary school setting; by enhancing a culture of continuous learning and new knowledge, through sustained collaboration, practitioner research and inquiry, innovation, and change. The author demonstrates that a school–university partnership can enable all stakeholders who participate to learn: primarily, the students through the developing contributions of PSTs; the PSTs as they work in authentically demanding practice; school leaders and teacher educators as they work together to achieve common goals; and the teachers, whose professional understandings and practices are developed through taking on the primary responsibility of mentoring the PSTs. The research draws on Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger’s (1991) theory of situated learning and Etienne Wenger’s (1998) theory of communities of practice. The study acknowledges the social nature of schools and a view of knowledge being socially generated through participant engagement in communities of practice. An exploration of the social and situated dimensions of learning offers insights into those elements of partnership-based teacher education that enhance PST professional knowledge, practice, and agency through ongoing contact with students and their learning. The selection of a case study methodology is a means through which to explore situated learning within communities of practice. This methodology provides an exploration of the way in which the culture, structures, and processes within the school–university partnership facilitated professional agency—creating the conditions for effective teaching and learning. The research uses quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis to obtain a rich spectrum of views. The case study methodology combining quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis allows concepts to be wholly explored, ensuring all aspects of the phenomenon (school–university partnership) are reflected on and understood. The research explores the potential for a school–university partnership to create an alternative discourse and pathway to raise school and student outcomes. The study reveals how a school–university partnership can produce adaptive and discursive practices, countering the normalising influence of a system regime’s focus on compliance, performance, and accountability. This study explores how a partnership with a university provides the school with a vehicle to create a unique school culture, catering for local challenges within Departmental accountabilities.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3903 Education systems
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3904 Specialist studies in education
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords site-based teacher education; performance and development culture; school leadership / transformation; partnership-based practice; situated learning; communities of practice; professional learning; mentoring; collaboration; feedback; inquiry; practitioner research; reflective practice
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