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A body of literature on students as partners (SaP) in higher education has emerged over the last decade that documents, shares, and evaluates SaP approaches. As is typical in emerging fields of inquiry, scholars differ regarding how they see the relationship between the developments in SaP practices and the theoretical explanations that guide, illuminate, and situate such practices. In this article we explore the relationship between theory and practice in SaP work through an analysis of interpretive framing employed in scholarship of SaP in teaching and learning in higher education. Through a conceptual review of selected publications, we describe three ways of framing partnership that represent distinct but related analytical approaches: building on concepts; drawing on constructs; and imagining through metaphors. We both affirm the expansive and creative theorising in scholarship of SaP in university teaching and learning and encourage further deliberate use and thoughtful development of interpretive framings that take seriously the disruptive ethos and messy human relational processes of partnership. We argue that these developmental processes move us toward formulating theories of partnership praxis.


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