Typologising formal school-to-school collaborations—education collectives—in China through the metaphor of Chinese landscape painting

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Abstract

In China, formal school groupings known as ‘education collectives’ have become one of the most common forms of school-to-school collaboration, promoted by policymakers to narrow the achievement gap between schools and optimise resource allocation. Previous research has focused on the purposes and achievements of education collectives rather than their structural diversity. This article seeks to address this gap by typologising education collectives in China. We map the landscape of education collectives, illuminating how school-to-school collaboration and education collectivisation have been promoted and operationalised in China. To achieve this, we employ the metaphor of traditional Chinese landscape painting as a methodological tool. Through this, we promote a deeper understanding of the cultural and psychological roots of school-to-school collaboration in China. We conceptualise education collectives from three perspectives inspired by the features of landscape painting: power relations, legal status, and external institutional engagement. These three dimensions also illuminate the homogeneity, exclusion and unsustainability that the education collective may encounter in their development process. This typology places education collectives within the broader policy context of Chinese basic education and system reform and offers insights into the diversity of network and partnership structures among inter-school collaborations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–16
Number of pages16
JournalOxford Review of Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • China
  • Education collectives
  • education policy
  • mapping
  • school-to-school collaboration
  • typology

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