teacher education, school-university partnership, teacher education policy, school placement, mentoring, teacher development, policy change, leadership, narrative, Ireland
Initial teacher education (ITE) programmes have been critiqued widely for failing to connect educational theory with everyday practices in schools. More meaningful collaborations between schools and teacher education providers have featured prominently among key recommendations addressing the traditional theory-practice divide. This paper traces and critically analyses one simplex story of initiating and leading a large-scale school-university partnership (SUP) network in the Republic of Ireland. Using a narrative approach, the protagonists and researchers of this SUP story bring their simplex journey of doing and shaping SUP to life. Analysis of the Irish case study emphasizes the authentic transformation of teacher educators institutional identities as a powerful enabler of meaningful collaboration while also highlighting ethical dilemmas that arose for university tutors in the context of deeper relational engagement in the school-university cross-boundary space. Constrained in their ITE praxis by power relations and a disequilibrium of responsibilities, tutors doubts, discomfort and, at times, disillusionment led them to readjust their expectations with regard to SUP while also refocusing their energy and hopes in student teachers as collaborative future change agents.