“Partners in practice” is a partnership between teacher education, researchers, and schools. The project seeks to develop a teaching practice that accentuates student participation. Earlier attempts to develop practice indicate that a quick-fix solution to this challenge does not exist, and the project thus aims at establishing systems that stimulate gradual development over time. At the core of these systems are the participants' collaborative development and exploration of examples of practice. These examples will then be shared on the platform “Language tracks”. The project involves the school subjects Norwegian language, mathematics, science and social studies.
The project consists of three main parts. The first part is organized around the establishment of groups of teachers, teacher educators and researchers in the different subjects, who collaborate on developing practice through crafting and exploring specific worked examples. These examples are manifestations of a teaching practice that promotes student participation, and they are often grounded in work on a particular problem. These problems can be texts, mathematical problems or different kinds of dilemmas that are up for discussion or investigation.
In the second part of the project, we study how our efforts to explore worked examples influence teachers' and students' conceptions of practice. An underlying assumption is that a teaching practice that is based on investigation of problems will change the conditions for student participation, and in this second part of the project we seek for traces of such change.
The third part of the project targets the level of school leaders and stakeholders. We investigate to what extent school leaders acknowledge the possibilities of this approach to developing practice. We believe that such acknowledgement is vital to sustainable development of practice.
Partners in practice is a partnership between teacher education, researchers and schools with an ambition of developing subject didactics that emphasize student participation. The project will establish a dynamic system for professional development that will connect the separate systems of educational practice and teacher education by developing, exploring and sharing high-quality examples from four subject areas (language arts, mathematics, social studies and science) in local partnerships, framed by a dialogic approach to education. The project is organized into three work packages (WP1-3), linked to the three objectives (O1-3 see the box above) and a set of research questions (RQ1-3) and assumptions:
In WP1 we will investigate challenges and opportunities in the partnership-based approach to professional development (RQ1.1), while also focusing on examples of what is possible to achieve (RQ1.2), based on the assumptions that 1) effective professional development must be context-sensitive, realistic, and supported by school leadership, and that 2) teaching with problems can change how teachers plan and perform teaching, and how they understand knowledge and learning.
In WP2 we will investigate how the interventions affect the understanding of disciplinary practice and roles among students and teachers (RQ2), based on the assumption that 1) the transmission model of knowledge and learning is a key obstacle for change and that 2) teaching with problems presented as first-hand experience can change the conditions for student participation.
In WP3 we will investigate how key stakeholders experience the system for educational development (RQ3). We assume that school leaders and administrators will acknowledge the realistic approach and the understanding of student participation in disciplinary practices. Such acknowledgement is necessary in order to overcome the gravitational pull of traditional practices.