Peter Boyd (St Martin’s College)

Kim Harris (St Martin’s College)

Jean Murray (Brunel University)

It is possible to view teacher education partnership as consisting of two different activity systems; the academic department and the placement schools (Boyd et al., 2006).

The voluntary, organic, self-directed nature of successful communities of practice means that organisational design cannot control their development (Wenger et al., 2002).

There is a need to manage the balance between organisational goals and engagement by professionals with the freedom to explore and innovate. It is possible to set out principles for cultivating communities of practice (Wenger et al.,2002) but not to provide a template for their design.

Research (Boyd et al., 2006; Murray, 2005a) also indicates that there are three priorities for most NTEs (New Teacher Educator) in their first year:

􀂊 ‘survival’ in terms of understanding the basics of how the department and the institution work;

􀂊 ‘shifting the lens’ of existing expertise in teaching by coming to terms with the differing pedagogical demands of working with adults;

􀂊 ‘laying the foundations’ for scholarship and research activity as an academic by building on existing expert knowledge.

One of the particular aspects of initial teacher education is its layered nature – it is teaching about teaching. This creates a complex learning environment and NTEs need to engage with conceptions of ‘modelling’ within their teaching practice (Loughran & Berry, 2005).

Partnership in pre-service courses is a complex idea in part because, as Furlong et al. (2005) state, at its heart is ‘the complexity and contestability of professional knowledge’ (p.19). Current models of partnership in ITE mean that working in school-based settings has organisational, epistemological, ethical and pedagogical complexities for teacher educators (Furlong et al., 2005; Murray, 2007).

Further click