School Development Based on Complementary Needs: A Case Study of Long-Term University-School Collaboration

Document type: Journal Articles
Article type: Original article
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Monica E Nilsson
Title: School Development Based on Complementary Needs: A Case Study of Long-Term University-School Collaboration
Translated title: Ömsesidiga behov: En fallstudie om ett långvarigt universitet-skola samarbete
Journal: Journal of Educational Change
Year: 2008
Volume: 9
Issue: 4
Pagination: 349-356
ISSN: 1389-2843
URI/DOI: 10.1007/s10833-008-9082-x
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Management (Sektionen för management)
School of Management S- 371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: This paper discusses school development as collaboration between local schools and universities based on complementary needs. I examine a ten-year case study of a long-term relationship between an elementary school and a university in a town in Sweden. The relationship is jointly constructed and mediated by local, national, and international projects. I consider these jointly constructed and shared projects as innovations of both the school’s and the university’s pedagogical practices. The significant actors in the different projects have been teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, school pupils, and researchers. The collaboration, which still exists, started in 1996 and has gone through stages varying in intensity and scope can be described metaphorically as a thin string. I present an analysis of the case and the collaborative process. The outcome of this analysis will suggest an answer to the following question: why does this collaboration exist and what makes it sustainable? A tentative answer is that these projects provide solutions to problems intrinsic to the respective educational institutions. The data were gathered over ten years, and consisted of interviews, e-mail, minutes of meetings, field notes, project plans, project reports, syllabi, and student reports. The study contributes to an understanding of the concept of educational innovation or school development as a collaboration between educational players based on complementary needs.
Summary in Swedish: Artikeln är baserad på en fallstudie om samverkan mellan ett universitet och lokala skolor. Argumentet är att förändring i respektive skolform kan ske som resultat av samverkan vilket i sin tur bygger på behov av att lösa interna konflikter inom respektive institutioner.
Subject: Education\General
Keywords: Activity theory, complementary needs, the Fifth Dimension, school collaboration, and school development