Boundaries and Bricolage: Examining the Roles of Universities and Schools in Student Teacher Learning

May. 01, 2011

Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 34, No. 2, May 2011, 177–191.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article describes a study that examines the boundary encounter between four sets of three participants on a distance education programme in initial teacher education.
The study investigates the boundary zone created when the triad talk about teaching and learning as they collaboratively plan a lesson, and then when they talk about it afterwards.

Research Design
The participants in this study were music student teachers, their mentors and music university tutors. The participants comprised four triads which each involving a student teacher, a mentor and a university tutor.

The authors drew on multiple data gathering methods: semi-structured individual interviews; observations and audio recordings of three-way conversations about teaching; observations and videos of teaching for later stimulated recall; and more ethnographic field notes.

The main focus of the study was on the learning opportunities that are presented to student teachers as they engage in conversations about teaching and learning with their mentor and university tutor.
The study also focused on who talks, what they talk about, the sources they draw on in their conversation, as well as identifying agreement or disagreement between them.

Content analysis was applied to transcriptions of joint conversations in order to enumerate this categorisation for further analysis and discussion.


The data from the case studies in this research show an intense process of socialisation, with the participants as bricoleurs gathering, adapting and re-mixing resources with a desire to inspire pupil engagement.

The data reveal that all of participants in this study, except perhaps for one, expressed considerable interest in developing a model of three-way learning.
The participants were interested in hearing each other’s perspectives and found the collaboration enjoyable and beneficial.

This study indicates that all of the participants were enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge, understanding and experience.

Updated: Sep. 27, 2012