Building bridges and crossing boundaries

Mhairi Beaton and Rachel Lofthouse, from the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, UK

January 22nd 2021

As 2021 unfolds our world feels unfamiliar, sometimes frightening and often limiting.  We yearn for normality and company. Our lives feel unsettled and our days feel full of the demands the pandemic has brought. We hold onto the things that give our work meaning, the events and responsibilities that we can still fulfil and the chances to change routines to continue to contribute to an education sector that is challenged in new ways.  In the UK we also feel the uncertainty of leaving the EU and a sense of impending loss.  

In his poem ‘No man is an island’  John Donne wrote these words;

No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Everyman is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main;

This sense of belonging to something beyond our shores, the motivation to learn from cultures and practices across nations and to work collectively with international colleagues is central to how we view the PROMISE project. We bring to the project the values and ambitions of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, in the north of England. 

As academics we create spaces for others to learn, and we see ourselves as always learning.  As teacher educators we see the challenges that teachers and school leaders face in developing an education system that opens doors for all learners. We know that the education profession needs positive narratives, alternative and creative ideas and a sense that the dilemmas that are faced are opportunities for growth and development. We promote teacher learning which is career-long and profession-wide, going beyond phases or singular interests and instead being necessarily fluid, emergent and collaborative.

The PROMISE project has become a space like this.  Despite the interruptions of the pandemic and the frustrations of Brexit we continue to find opportunities to build bridges and to cross boundaries.  ‘No man is an island’, and neither is any organisation.  We are strengthened by our partnerships, and we know that we are a valued ‘part of the main’.

Who are we?

Rachel Lofthouse is Professor of Teacher Education and Director of CollectivED The Centre for Coaching, Mentoring and Professional Learning at Leeds Beckett University. 
Mhairi C Beaton is a Reader in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University.