Teachers in Collaboration

Working across disciplines on pupils' development opportunities.

The lectorate aims to develop knowledge and skills on a specific aspect of the teaching role and teachers' day-to-day practice. It focuses on teachers who, from their unique relationship with their pupils and their unique position in their lives, occupy an important place in the network around their pupils and use this for the benefit of the young people's development. The teachers that this lectorate is targeting may have a diverse range of roles and duties in education, such as: class teacher, subject teacher, lecturer, mentor, internal counsellor, peripatetic supervisor, principal, care coach, care coordinator or member of a pupil support advisory team (ZAT in Dutch). The lectorate focuses on the theme of 'collaboration' from the perspective of teachers and their professional role, duties and responsibilities. How do they collaborate? What do they do? What elements of their approach are effective? What problems do they experience with this?

  1. What should you do as a primary school teacher if you are concerned about a pupil who hardly ever brings anything to eat to school, looks neglected and whose performance at school is falling further and further behind?
  2. How do you react if a pupil tells you in a mentoring session that he or she feels intimidated by an external therapist and you suspect that sexual intimidation might be involved?
  3. As care coordinator in a pupil support advisory team meeting, how do you react if, in your opinion, other team members are speaking disrespectfully about a pupil and his or her parents?
  4. How do you balance the youth care aims directed at the specific support needs of the child and family and the educational objectives applicable to the child in the school context?

Despite the recent major investment in developing good care structures which has largely been successful, there are no ready-made answers to questions like this. Questions such as: Can I tackle this specific problem on my own or do I need help from others? And if so, then who? What is my role here and what are my duties and responsibilities? Who should take the initiative, who is in charge in a particular context and who takes the decisions? How are the formal and informal relationships shaped? How do I deal with differences in outlook, ambition and more practice-oriented differences of opinion between the parties involved? What potential pressure and friction points are there? What are the various participants' perspectives, views and opinions on the pupil, their own role and that of the other participants?

The lectorate is committed to tying its activities and results into the curriculum of the Master of SEN and other Fontys courses and to renewal of the course content. It focuses on the professional development of the teaching staff at Fontys OSO (and the other institutes with which the lectorate is affiliated). It will contribute to the development of more of the theme-centred research that OSO is currently engaged in and, of course, to the professional development of the students.

The lectorate's approach is in sync with the training concept used on the Master of SEN course: the pyramid.

Figure 1: Pyramid³ Figure 1: Pyramid³

The professional is at the centre of this pyramid, just as the teacher is at the centre of this lectorate. Students on the Master of SEN course develop a reflective-enquiring approach in which they increasingly integrate the components of theory, practice and person and through this experience develop application-oriented knowledge (van Swet & Huijgevoort 2012).

³Fontys OSO uses the word ‘triade’