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Workshop 8: School-university partnerships

DAY TWO: Session 7: Parallel workshop sessions (15 May, 10.45 - 12.15)

Workshop 8: School-university partnerships (Chair: Andrew Morris, independent, UK)

This workshop is one or two sessions at the conference that explores key characteristics of knowledge exchange schemes involving partnerships between schools/kindergartens and researchers. Details of schemes in Germany and The Netherlands will be presented in the first half of this session.  In the second half, the chair will outline the key messages from workshop 2 (which focuses on schemes in Iceland, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom).  Reflecting on all six schemes, the whole group will then consider the benefits and challenges of school-university partnerships as a means of improving educational provision through evidence-informed decision-making. 

Presentations:

Petra Arndt (presenting), Kerstin Kipp, Constanze Koslowski and Katrin Hille: Gaps and bridges between early childhood education, primary school and science

In Germany, kindergartens (for children up to five years) are strictly separated from primary school (starting with age of six) at virtually all levels of organization, financing, administration, and teacher-training. The change of German kindergartens from mere child care facilities to institutions of education and the difficulties certain children have at school enrolment led to an increasing effort to bridge the gap between kindergarten and primary school. Politicians as well as scientists look for strategies to enhance the communication and cooperation between the two adjacent levels of education.

The pilot project “Bildungshaus 3 - 10” (‘Education House 3 to 10’) of the state Baden-Württemberg (Southwest of Germany) is one example for these efforts: primary schools and kindergartens cooperate, as they regularly provide common educational settings for kindergarten children (from age 3 on) and primary school children (up to 10 years of age). 32 schools and 48 kindergartens participating in the project are supported and evaluated by a scientific team (funded by the BMBF and the ESF of the EU). The evaluation allows the team to analyse the impact of pedagogical factors as well as the role of infrastructure, administration, etc. at both the micro and macro level and to identify several complementary approaches for improvement.

As part of the project, a multiple-focus approach for the collaboration between practitioners in educational settings and researchers at the University of Ulm has been developed. The close collaboration of practitioners and the scientific team has made it possible to develop effective strategies for the dissemination of relevant scientific knowledge and to support the application of the results.

Karien Coppens, Louise Elffers and Raoul Haenbeukers: Connecting educational research, policy and practice: exploring the potential and challenges of two innovative knowledge infrastructures from The Netherlands

In this workshop, we present two interlinked innovative knowledge infrastructures that aim to connect educational research, policy and practice by an ongoing dialogue.

The first, Kaans, is a research program in the region of Southern Limburg in which municipalities, schools from preschool to secondary education, and Maastricht University cooperate to improve education. Based on extensive data collection, Kaans partners engage in a continuous dialogue about issues encountered in education. These are then used as input for further research on what works in education. Research outcomes are actively disseminated in schools and governments.

The second infrastructure is the Academic Workplace Education (AWE). Academic workplaces have been shown to successfully serve as boundary crossing organizations in the field of public health. Therefore, Maastricht University and the Dutch Education Inspectorate recently started the AWE, in which researchers, policy makers and practitioners work together in addressing pressing educational issues at the national level. The AWE serves as a community of practice, in which participants share interests and problems, and deepen their knowledge in continuous interaction with each other. Kaans and the AWE aim to facilitate the use of research in education along two lines, which both have dialogue as their starting point: by translating questions in educational policy and practice into research, and by translating research outcomes to develop evidence-informed policies and practices.

In this workshop, we share experiences from Kaans and AWE, and discuss how both infrastructures can contribute, both regionally and nationally, to bridging the gap between educational research, policy and practice.