NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED524613
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jul
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
Crossing Boundaries: Challenges of Academics Working in Professional Experiences
Le Cornu, Rosie
Australian Teacher Education Association, Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA) (Albury, Jun 28-Jul 1, 2009)
One of the perennial challenges for academics working in the area of professional experiences (practicum) is how to negotiate the constantly moving and contradictory boundaries around their work. A number of questions arise. Firstly, how do they cope with the "shifting, changing landscape" (Clandinin, 2008) of the university and at the same time cope with the shifting, changing landscape of schools? Secondly, how do they juggle the competing demands of schools and universities? For example, how do they increase their research outputs and at the same time develop productive relationships and "partnerships" with schools? It will be argued in this paper that academics working in professional experiences would benefit by taking up Clandinin's (2008) challenge "to learn to be in a middle space." The paper draws primarily on a year long self-study which was conducted by two professional experience academics at the University of South Australia focusing on the graduate Bachelor of Education (Primary) program. It also draws on findings from a post-practicum evaluation of 52 pre-service teachers and early findings from an investigation into the role of the school based professional experience coordinator involving 6 school leaders. The studies are based around two professional experiences which are framed around the notion of learning communities. These professional experiences have been restructured to aim for an intimate linking of on-campus, on-line and in-school learning with an explicit commitment to strengthening partnerships with school-based colleagues. There is a strong appreciation of the critical nature of professional conversations for ongoing professional learning and pre-service teachers have time and space structured into their professional experiences to engage in learning relationships with a range of colleagues, including their peers, mentor teachers, other school based colleagues and university mentors. Findings from the studies have illuminated many benefits for reframing professional experiences around the notion of learning communities. One finding in particular will be explored in this paper and that is that the university mentor role involves complex cognitive, emotional and interpersonal work in schools (Le Cornu, 2008). The challenges and dilemmas associated with this work are presented, as are a number of implications. The discussion centres on the notion of the professional experience academic as a "crosser of multiple boundaries".
Australian Teacher Education Association. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA)
Identifiers - Location: Australia