Capitalising on Shared Knowledge, Experience and Expertise to Enhance Professional Learning for School and University Educators

Jackie Walkington

    Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Paper

    Abstract

    The preparation of future school teachers requires an enormous commitment and contribution from the school sector. In addition to the study undertaken in tertiary institutions, preservice teachers gain experience and knowledge from the immersion in authentic school contexts through experimentation and reflection. Unfortunately this relationship is mainly perceived as unidirectional as the teachers impart their expertise, carrying out a service for university teacher preparation courses. Teacher education however is not just about preservice learning, but a career long necessity for all educators. Are many opportunities for learning being missed or ignored in current joint university and school practices? Are there mutually beneficial outcomes not being maximised? This paper argues that the experience, expertise and knowledge of educators in the schools and universities have a lot to offer one another, but they are not capitalised upon because of the existence of workplace cultural barriers and perceptions that militate against a collaborative and accepting relationship. Little incentive for individuals and institutions, together with limited structural support does not promote a favourable environment for improvement. Following an analysis of relevant literature and observation of practice in Australia and the United States, the paper strongly recommends a rethink of the alliances between universities and schools to capitalise upon the enormous potential for professional learning for university academics, school teachers, institutional leaders and system decision makers alike. While teacher professional learning occurs in many forms, the need to reflect upon traditional practices, and take advantage of opportunities is universally relevant. Introduction Schools and universities may have different educational targets, but they are partners on the continuum of formal learning and have a range of connections with one another. As many school students enter university, alliances to facilitate this transition and maximise success are significant. Universities rely on the experience of teachers and the school contexts to assist in the preparation of future teachers through involvement in the practicum. University learning and research has positive implications for schools – improving teaching practice and student learning outcomes. Schools provide a rich context for research and knowledge generation. These are some of the potential benefits to be gained through school-university alliances that contribute to the constantly evolving educational scene. Productive professional alliances within and across institutions achieve maximum benefit when reciprocity is valued. For guaranteed commitment, explicit acknowledgement of mutually beneficial outcomes, where clear understanding of what each partner has to offer, and of what each partner wants to gain, is important. The more committed the partners to collaboration, the greater is the potential for capitalising on the unique experiences and expertise that are available in professional learning partnerships.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages9
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventAPERA 2006 Conference - , Hong Kong
    Duration: 28 Dec 200630 Dec 2006

    Conference

    ConferenceAPERA 2006 Conference
    CountryHong Kong
    Period28/12/0630/12/06

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