Exploration of an innovative professional development partnership model between a regional university and a local school: Teachers and pre-service teachers in collaborative PD sessions

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


Currently, limited research exists that examines pre-service teachers’ and supervising teachers’ experiences of shared professional development and the relationship that exists with the host university from an Australian perspective and more specifically from a regional perspective. This is significant given that in order to be a sustainable entity, a regional institution relies on positive relationships with the local community. This project investigates school and university participants’ perceptions of the benefits, challenges and supportive factors related to their involvement in a shared professional development partnership between a regional university and a local school.
Research suggests that the university-school partnership is a significant aspect for teacher education students’ professional and individual development (Butler-Mader et al., 2006; Lawson et al., 2015). Additionally, BOSTES (2015) suggested that best practice professional experience should include a focus on professional development, effective information and communication, a professional commitment, clear expectations, fair and ethical practice, and sound professional judgement. It is important for both supervising teachers and university-based teacher educators to develop a shared understanding of the expectations of student participation in professional experience. With the difficulties in staffing and retaining experienced teaching staff in regional schools (Burke, & Buchanan., 2022), this has implications for the readiness of practicing teachers to provide appropriate mentoring support to pre-service teachers.
Following Breakspear’s (2021) Teaching Sprints framework, the school delivers professional sessions incorporating reflective practice both for practicing teachers and pre-service teachers attending placements in the final two years of study. Opportunities for collaborative reflection are provided for pre-service teachers and their mentors as part of the program. The effectiveness of the professional development sessions are investigated following Guskey’s (2000) guidelines for evaluating teacher professional development. These guidelines provide five levels of evaluation, the participant’s reactions, the participant’s learning, organisation support and change, participant’s use of new knowledge and skills, and student learning outcomes. These guidelines work well with Breakspear’s teaching sprints three phase process of prepare, sprint and review.
The project utilises a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data from surveys will be used to gain baseline data, point in time data and post data on
•attitudes and information about professional development needs,
•mentoring relationships, both from mentor and mentee perspectives
•perspectives of university staff involved in WPL subjects
•the needs and perceptions of all stakeholders in ways of supporting pre-service teachers through their placement activities.
Pre-service teachers attending placement, teachers from the school, and university staff involved in the delivery of WPL subjects will be given opportunity to participate in semi structured interviews to provide further qualitative data about their needs and perceptions of these key concepts and the impact of the professional learning project.
Additionally, school documents and reports will be examined for evidence to support or reject the impact of the collaborative professional development project being implemented. Application for ethical approval is in progress.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2023
EventAustralian teacher education association 2023 conference: Embracing partnerships: Leading the future of teaching, learning and research - Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 12 Jul 202314 Mar 2024


ConferenceAustralian teacher education association 2023 conference
Abbreviated titleExploration of innovative partnership models and case studies, including local, national and international
Internet address

Grant Number

  • 103945


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