Relationship Matters: Negotiating and Maintaining Partnerships in a Unique Teacher Education Program

Sep. 30, 2008

Source: Action in Teacher Education, v. 30 no. 3, (Fall 2008) p. 39-53.

Teacher education has evolved into a cooperative responsibility shared by universities and schools. This paper examines the relationship development, maintenance, and relational intricacies of a Canadian school-university partnership. Specifically, how the Faculty of Education at Brock University has built a conceptual bridge between the university, the partner districts, and the individual schools. The paper also investigates the concepts of leadership in teacher education, learning groups, ethics of care within community, and the nature of individual contributions to the learning group. Collectively, the partnership and the resulting preparation program within this collaborative venture provide an alternative model with important considerations for other universities and school systems that are interested in fostering effective partnerships.


In summary, the following components help to support and maintain the bridge necessary to foster effective school-university partnerships that can effectively contend with faculty, school, and teacher candidate considerations: curricular coherence between teacher education courses and practicum, curriculum integration of theory and practice utilizing school contexts, an explicit teacher education mission dedicated toward recognizing a Faculty of Education as a professional faculty that partners with schools, and a clear program focus on the practitioner.
School-university connections undoubtedly often demand a significant commitment for collaboration on the part of all stakeholders--faculty, cooperating teachers, and teacher candidates (Martin et al., 2004). Therefore, clear identification of the roles and responsibilities among all stakeholders, along with accessible and high-quality communication strategies, help to alleviate the time and human resource commitments necessary in maintaining successful school-university partnerships.

Martin, D., Reeves, W. E., Wilson, E., O'Dell, L., & Egan, T. M. (2004, March). Taking on the Teacher Supply and Retention Challenge: A Performance-Focused Model for School-University Partnerships. Paper presented at the Academy of Human Resource Development International Conference, Austin, TX.

Updated: Apr. 22, 2009