RMIT University
Byth.pdf (4.76 MB)

Partnerships in Action: The Impact of Hybrid Educators on Mentor Teachers’ Practices

Download (4.76 MB)
posted on 2024-05-29, 06:24 authored by Allison Byth
Abstract High-quality initial teacher education is a fundamental component of quality education globally. In Australia, successive government reports have consistently emphasised the need for excellence in preparing teachers for the classroom, with a strong focus on the critical role of professional experience in schools. However, professional experience is a complex process characterised by variability in stakeholders’ experiences and practices, institutional supports, and the challenge of reconciling theoretical knowledge with practical application. By mandating the notion of school–university partnerships, the Australian Government seeks to build upon the collective expertise of both university and schools to deliver strong and immersive learning experiences for preservice teachers. Existing research underscores the advantages of such partnerships but also reports persistent disparities in practices. This research explores some of these complexities through consideration of a distinctive hybrid position known as a school-based coach. This role requires primary school teachers to work beyond their conventional responsibilities to collaborate, cocreate, and execute a 3-week school-based course for second-year preservice teachers. The study employs a qualitative participatory action research approach to understand how these school-based coaches impact mentor teachers’ practices when mentoring preservice teachers. This thesis documents three iterative cycles of design interventions where the school-based coaches support mentor learning. Data collection methods including interviews, focus group discussion, and researcher-generated documents inform a descriptive case study of these interventions. The study’s conceptual framework draws upon social learning theory, emphasising third-space activities that foster collective engagement and shared ownership within a community of practice. The impact of the interventions is measured using Wenger-Trayner and Wenger-Trayner’s (2020) value creation constructs. The findings demonstrate how school-based coaches can extend professional experiences to provide learning that goes beyond that of the school or the university. The school-based coaches’ initiation of a gradual release of responsibility framework for mentoring provides a structured approach to mentoring grounded in collaborative decision-making, shared practices, and reflective processes. This thesis contributes understanding to the value of such hybrid roles within partnership practices and introduces a structured mentoring model to enhance mentor professional learning and expertise. Furthermore, it challenges the conventional application of the term partnership, advocating for a more integrated community of practice approach for shared school–university professional experience practices.


Degree Type

Doctorate by Research


© Allison Byth 2023

School name