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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070

Abstract

ENGELBRECHT, Petra. Sustainability of international collaborative partnerships in education: a personal research journey. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2016, vol.5, n.2, pp.151-164. ISSN 2221-4070.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2221-4070/2016/v5i2a10.

The growth of international research and development partnerships in education has raised significant challenges regarding the conceptualisation, dissemination, and sustainability of international projects that transcend international borders. This article focuses on an analytical autoethnographical account of collaboration in an international project on improving the quality and relevance of the teaching practice component of initial teacher education programmes in Palestine. Collaborative partnerships are conceptualised as the synergy created when the perspectives, resources, and skills of a group of people are combined. Analytical autoethnography is used as the methodological approach, in which personal narrative and research are combined in a variety of ways, for example, extending initial analysis of the dynamics of collaborative partnerships by combining it with own experiences as well as with personal reflections taken one year after the project came to a close. Partners' characteristics and the relationships between partners, overall partnership characteristics, and the role of the complex geopolitical environment, with an emphasis on the complexity in the development of culturally competent work, were identified as themes. The conclusion reached is that synergy for sustainable international partnerships is influenced by cultural competence and positive interpersonal connections, within which the relevant power differentials are recognised and cultural assumptions are made.

Keywords : Collaboration; collaborative partnerships; sustainability; autoethnography; international development programmes; cultural competence.

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