Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Heinz, M. & Chan, C.
British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference
School University Partnership in Ireland and Hong Kong: Two case studies exploring conceptualisations and practices in times of education policy reform
Conference Paper
Optional Fields
In this presentation, two teacher educators and school placement coordinators, one from the National University of Ireland Galway and one from Hong Kong University, explore and compare conceptualisations and the enactment of school university collaboration within their respective policy and socio-cultural contexts. We will, firstly, provide an overview and analysis of recent reforms in teacher education, including the reconceptualisation of initial teacher education programmes and renewed emphasis on school-university partnership, in both contexts (Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (Hong Kong), 2006, 2009; Irish Teaching Council, 2011, 2013,) Policy discourses in the area of school-university partnership have often portrayed simplistic pictures of collaboration leading to win-win scenarios. We analyse relevant policy documents and explore definitions of school-university partnerships, proclaimed benefits as well as the pathways and practices suggested to establish and sustain same. In the second part of our presentation we will focus on the enactment of school-university partnerships in Ireland and Hong Kong. We will share our own critical reflections on our experiences as initiators and leaders of school-university partnership programmes. We also recount personal narratives of practicing teachers, school leaders, student teachers and university tutors who participated and contributed to our initiatives. In our analysis of these lived experiences of school-university collaboration we will explore understandings of the purpose, nature and benefits of school-university collaboration as well as perceptions of our roles, responsibilities and relationships within a collaborative framework. Case study data from the Irish and the Hong Kong contexts (2012-2015) will be presented and compared. These include transcripts of interviews with school-based mentors/school leaders, pre-service teachers and university tutors as well as reflections from the two school placement coordinators and minutes from partnership meetings. A critical discourse and cross-cultural comparative framework will be used in the analysis to explore how the participants are making sense of school-university partnership policies and practices introduced in the two contexts. In our cross-cultural analysis we emphasise tensions and contradictions as well as ethical dilemmas we are facing in “the swampy lowlands” of our partnership work which are invisible in partnership policies and guidelines. We explore how (similar and/or different) historical, socio-cultural and economic conditions frame and influence our cross-institutional work and compare principles and practices that we have developed which (based on our experiences and qualitative studies) have enhanced our school-university relations and collaborations and, ultimately, initial teacher education programmes.  
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy