Chapter 8: How might you manage the challenges of partnership?

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This chapter of Pedagogical Partnerships focuses on managing the challenges of classroom- and curriculum-focused pedagogical partnership. It begins with a review of challenges identified in the existing literature, including resistance to co-creation of learning and teaching; navigating institutional structures, practices, and norms; and establishing an inclusive approach. It then addresses how to manage logistical challenges, such as managing participants’ complex schedules and lives and thinking about time. It includes a consideration of partners versus TAs, as well as how to take into account the diversity of identities and roles to which partnerships need to be responsive, including how to get a diversity of student partners, not just the “best” students/frequent flyer students whose voices are already represented or attended to. The chapter also addresses the challenge of the similar and different kinds of emotional labor involved in partnership for faculty, students, and program directors and how to manage those. Finally, it addresses what to do if something challenging happens and the question of whether partnerships can fail.

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Discussion Questions

Many of the chapters of this book focus on the promises and possibilities of pedagogical partnership, but it is also important to name and address the challenges we and others have encountered. In chapter 8, we identify the most common challenges to developing pedagogical partnership. These include managing everyone’s complex schedules and lives, differentiating teaching assistants and student partners, considering diversity of identities and roles, acknowledging and managing the emotional labor involved in partnership, and what to do if something challenging happens. Here are questions for discussion to help you consider and plan for these:

What do you anticipate will be the most common challenges to developing pedagogical partnership in your context?

  • Are they logistical? Perceptual? Both?

How might you manage everyone’s complex schedules and lives?

  • What is the best balance between planning and flexibility/responsiveness?

Should you insist on differentiating teaching assistants and student partners? What are the benefits and drawback of distinguishing and blending the roles?

What considerations might you take into account regarding diversity of identities and roles?

We note the various kinds of emotional labor involved in partnership. Which of these do you anticipate in your context, and are there other kinds you can imagine?

What advice will you give participants in your context regarding what they should do if something challenging happens?