Teacher Development and School Innovation

The Teacher Development and School Innovation research group conducts research and develops instruments to support teachers in taking professional responsibility for educational innovation as well as in initiating a professional dialogue within the school. Its emphasis is on the link between professional development and the capacity for change among teachers as well as teacher teams – in other words, between teacher development and school innovation.

This professorship is led by Professor Marco Snoek.

The 'Teachers as Change Agents' research group was launched in 2003. This professorship aimed to support teachers in designing change processes. After all, education and didactics by teachers will constantly have to seek alignment with social developments and requirements, with developments and choices within the school, with changing interests and characteristics among pupils and with recent scientific insights into teaching and learning.

Since teachers are confronted with change throughout their careers, they need to be capable of handling and shaping such change. In this regard, teachers should not be puppets or playthings in change processes within schools. Instead, they should serve as leading professionals who initiate, effect and monitor innovation. To this end, teachers must be 'change agents' with a capacity for change.

The professorship was continued in 2007 under the new name of 'Teacher Development and School Innovation: Talent development of teachers in change processes'. This new title is a stronger embodiment of the active role played by teachers in schools. 'Teachers' still refers to both pupils and teachers from primary education through higher education, as well as teacher trainers.

Emphasis is on the generic or 'extended' professionalism of teachers, as referred to by Hoyle. Key terms include professional ownership, professional latitude and responsibility, inquisitive attitude, leadership and teacher entrepreneurship.

The focus of the research group is on developing knowledge about the practice of teacher training programmes and schools, which can contribute to improving degree programmes, refresher training courses and teacher performance. Among other things, research is conducted into:

  • the identification and encouragement of outstanding students in the teacher training programmes;
  • the transfer of leadership skills developed in a Master's degree programme to the working environment of the school;
  • the research performed by teachers at academic training schools;
  • the design and reinforcement of teachers' professional latitude within schools.

The research results will be used for the development of training programmes for Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes (including the excellence programme at the Faculty of Education as well as the Master's in Professional Mastery and the Master's in Educational Theory), for the provision of support to academic training schools, for the advice to and involvement with professional groups of teachers and teacher trainers (Onderwijscoöperatie and Velon), as well as for the advice to Dutch and European policymakers.

Published by  Centre for Applied Research in Education 24 September 2019