Potential – Power to teach all!
Schools and teachers around the world are facing a growing diversity and increasing complexity in the classroom (Banks et al., 2007). In the past, pupils’ assignments to classrooms and schools have often fostered segregation rather than encouraged inclusion. Today, we see a tendency towards more inclusive learning environments (cf. amongst others, the UN Convention of 2006, ratified by Belgium in 2009). However, this poses challenges to the professional development of (pre-service) teachers and teams. Consequently, the main objective of the project ‘POTENTIAL - Power to Teach All’, is to develop the competences of (pre-service) teachers and school teams to create inclusive learning environments.
In the spectrum of competences to create inclusive learning environments, two major objectives are distinguished:
(A) appreciating and exploiting diversity in the classroom;
Applying an intersectional perspective to education, reveals the fact that diversity is an inherent part of every classroom (Van Avermaet & Sierens, 2010). That is, every classroom consists of a diverse group of students, with regard to such characteristics as gender, age, socio-economic position, language, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, (dis)abilities, ethnic and cultural background, … In order for teachers to create maximal learning opportunities for each student, certain skills and attitudes are necessary. First, in order to create a positive classroom environment, teacher attitudes should be appreciative, considering the diversity present not as a barrier to teaching and learning, but as an opportunity. Second, didactical skills and knowhow to create a learning environment suited to the needs of every student, are crucial in creating inclusive learning environments.
(B) realizing collaborative teaming in the school.
Creating inclusive learning environments assumes that no individual or isolated teacher can expect to have all the knowledge required to meet the needs of all students in the classroom. Equitable learning environments require support for all different participants and a shared responsibility towards these participants (Killorana et al., 2014). Therefore, competences to realize collaborative teaming are necessary in order to successfully create inclusive learning environments (Hunt et al., 2003).
These goals will be realized through a Professional Development Program (PDP) in the context of
(1) elementary and lower secondary education and
(2) teacher education institutions for pre-service teachers in elementary and lower secondary education.
The Potential-project employs a quasi-experimental design with experimental and control schools, in order to study the effectiveness of the implemented PDP. (Note that, because pre-service teachers are not yet part of a school team, the second goal is necessarily less central in the intervention implemented in teacher education institutions.)
In order to realise a representative sample for the Flemish context, certain important school characteristics were taken into account, such as: location (urban vs. rural), school denomination, and an equal distribution across the Flemish provinces. Schools were contacted to participate in the experimental or control condition at random. In the end, 32 primary schools (of which 18 in the experimental condition) agreed to participate in the research, as well as 24 secondary schools (of which 10 in the experimental condition) and 8 teacher education institutions (of which 3 in the experimental condition). To assess the impact of the PDP, all institutions are surveyed before the start of the PDP, at the end of the PDP, and schools are surveyed once more half a year after the end of the PDP as way of a retention test.
In order to measure the effectiveness of a PDP aimed at increasing (pre-service) teachers’ and school teams’ competences to create inclusive learning environments, monitoring instruments have to be developed specifically tailored to the two major objectives of Potential. Consequently, to measure goal A, a videography instrument measuring (pre-service) teachers’ professional vision of differentiated instruction and positive teacher-student interactions is developed and validated by the Potential team. To measure goal B, a social network instrument is developed to measure and study changes in school teams’ networks throughout the course of the intervention.
Furthermore, to thoroughly document the process of professional development of (pre-service) teachers and school teams involved in the PDP, as well as identifying facilitating and obstructing conditions for the creation of inclusive learning environments, several research methods are employed. Hence, Potential makes use of both quantitative (survey, videography-instrument, social network instrument) and qualitative research methods (observation, interviews, focus groups) to achieve a triangulation of research findings.
- Follow the Potential-project at:
- Banks, J., Cochran-Smith, M., Moll, L., Richert, A., Zeichner, K., LePage, P. & McDonald, M. (2007). Teaching diverse learners. In L. Darling-Hammond, & J. Bransford (Red.), Preparing teachers for a changing world (pp. 232-274). San Francisco.
- Hunt, P., Soto, G., Maier, J., & Doering, K. (2003). Collaborative teaming to support students at risk and students with severe disabilities in general education classrooms. Council for Exceptional Children, 69(3), 315-332.
- Killorana, I., Woronkoa, D., & Zaretskya, H. (2014). Exploring preservice teachers' attitudes towards inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(4), 427-442.
- United Nations. (2007). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml.
- Van Avermaet, P., & Sierens, S. (2010). Diversiteit is de norm. Er mee leren omgaan de uitdaging. Een referentiekader voor omgaan met diversiteit in onderwijs. In D. De Coen, et al. (Red.), Handboek beleidsvoerend vermogen (Doelgerichte visie, Aflevering 4) (pp. 1-48). Brussel: Politeia.
In the figure below, the focus of each researcher in the whole of the Potential-project is visualised. Hence, it is detailed for each researcher on a horizontal level which Potential goal they focus on (i.e., (A) appreciating and exploiting diversity in the classroom; (B) realizing collaborative teaming in the school; and professional development as a central tool for realising goal A & B. Furthermore, on a vertical level it is visualised in which context the researchers primarily conduct their research (i.e., primary teacher education; secondary teacher education; primary schools; secondary schools).
Below you can find some additional information on each researcher, such as their background, research interests, institutional affiliation, and so on.
- Jasmien graduated as a Master of Educational Studies at the KU Leuven in 2015. After her studies, she started to work as an assistant in a reception centre for asylum-seekers.
- In January 2016, Jasmien started her PhD at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (Parenting and Special Education Research Group) of the KU Leuven.
- Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Katja Petry, Prof. Dr. Sven De Maeyer, Prof. Dr. Elke Struyf & Prof. Dr. Piet Van Avermaet
- Focus within Potential
- Her PhD focuses on realizing collaborative teaming in both primary and secondary schools. This general aim has been specified into four objectives: (1) to develop and validate a social network instrument to assess and strengthen collaboration in inclusive education, (2) to study the effects of a PDP on the collaborative practices to create inclusive learning environments
- In this PhD, a combination of traditional statistical methods (e.g., multiple regression) and social network analysis is used to examine the quantitative data. Social network analysis is a technique to systematically map patterns of relationships in order to understand how individual behaviour is embedded in the social structure.
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- Nick graduated as a kindergarten teacher at the Arteveldehogeschool in Ghent and continued his studies at Ghent University to become a master in educational sciences with specialisation in disability studies.
- After his studies, Nick explored the work field as a kindergarten teacher and as a SEN-coordinator (zorgcoördinator) in an elementary school.
- Nick is working as a PhD-researcher at the University of Antwerp. His research is about ‘collaborative practices of teachers to create inclusive learning environments’.
- Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Elke Struyf & Dr. Elisabeth De Schauwer
- Focus within Potential
- The research of Nick can be situated in the second goal of potential: ‘realizing collaborative teaming’. In the first year, he was involved in the theoretical/conceptual development of the social network instrument. This network-perspective will also be integrated in a qualitative case-study of collaborative practices in a Flemish school.
- To diminish the conceptual diffusion within different existing collaborative practices, Nick conducted a systematic literature review within international journals on (inclusive) education. This work will serve as a theoretical base in analysing collaborative practices in Flanders.
- To do so, Nick is conducting an intensive case study of one school in Flanders where he will try to grasp the processes of a collaborative professionalization program (i.e. the potential professional development program) in a qualitative/mixed method manner.
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- After completing her Bachelor in Sociology, Iris did a Master in Social & Cultural Anthropology. Afterwards, she acquired an additional degree to work as a teacher in secondary education.
- After her studies, Iris worked as a teacher in secondary education, as an assistant in the teacher education program of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (Ghent University) and as a student counsellor at the same faculty.
- In June 2012, she started working at the Centre for Diversity & Learning, Faculty of Linguistics (Ghent University). She collaborated in several research and valorisation projects that focus on developing (student) teachers‘ competences to teach diverse learners.
- In January 2016, still based at the Centre for Diversity & Learning, Iris started working as a PhD researcher on the Potential – Power to Teach All! Project.
- Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Piet Van Avermaet, Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, Dr. Wendelien Vantieghem.
- Focus within Potential
- A first focus is the development and validation of the e-PIC tool, a video-based comparative judgement instrument to assess teachers‘ professional vision of inclusive classrooms. The e-PIC tool was developed with Karolien & Esther.
- Furthermore, Iris is interested in teachers‘ beliefs about teaching diverse learners and how these relate to teachers‘ professional vision, teachers‘ practices and characteristics of the school context teachers are working in.
- Another research interest is measuring the effect of the professional development intervention on teachers‘ professional vision, beliefs and classroom practices.
- Iris works with the quantitative (video-based & survey) data that was gathered in secondary education. Methodologically, she is interested in multilevel analyses.
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- After graduating as a Master in Educational Sciences, Esther worked as the coordinator of the Brussels Expertisenetwork of Education [Brussels Expertisenetwerk Onderwijs (BEO)] for two years.
- Currently she is working as a PhD student at the Department of Educational Sciences (EDWE) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
- Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Katrien Struyven, prof. Dr. Nadine Engels & prof. Dr. Els Consuegra
- Focus within Potential
- Within her Ph.D, Esther focuses on perceptions, approaches and professional vision of teachers to use differentiated instruction to create an inclusive learning environment.
- Using mixed method research methods, such as the DI-Quest survey, the e-PIC videography tool and additional qualitative data (interviews and classroom observations), this research tries to pinpoint the success factors of differentiated instruction.
- Together with Iris Roose and Karolien Keppens, Esther developed and validated the e-PIC tool, a video-based comparative judgement instrument to measure (student) teachers’ professional vision of inclusive classrooms. This instrument is designed for pre-service and in-service teachers. The research of Esther focuses on in-service teachers of both primary and secondary education.
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- After graduating as a Master in Educational Sciences, Karolien worked as a Researcher & Developer at vzw SODAjobs. Since January 2015, Karolien is a member of the board at vzw SODAjobs.
- Karolien is currently workingas a PhD student at the Department of Educational Studies of the Ghent University.
- Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, prof. Dr. Sven De Maeyer & prof. Dr. Els Consuegra
- Focus within Potential
- The PhD project of Karolien focusses on competence development of pre-service teachers regarding inclusive education, or more specifically; the competence to teach in inclusive classrooms.
- To measure pre-service teachers’ teaching competence for inclusion, Karolien focused in the first place on the development and validation of a measurement instrument to assess pre-service teachers’ competence towards teaching in inclusive classrooms. Together with her colleagues, Iris and Esther, Karolien developed a video-based comparative judgement instrument that measures pre-service teachers’ professional vision of inclusive classrooms.
- In addition, Karolien is interested in the relationships between pre-service teachers’ professional vision, beliefs and self-efficacy towards teaching diverse students.
- To gain insight into pre-service teachers’ competence development regarding teaching in inclusive classrooms, Karolien is interested in studying the effect of the PDP on pre-service teachers’ professional vision, beliefs and self-efficacy.
- This PhD project is based on quantitative data, by making use of the video-based assessment instrument and multiple surveys.
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- After graduating as a Master in Educational Sciences in 1998, Marijke supported families of young children with severe learning disabilities (aged 2-6), trying to bridge the gap from early guidance to inclusive education in the school context.
- Since 1999, she combined her fieldwork with teaching and doing applied research in the Artevelde University College in Ghent. In the Advanced Teacher Education Department, she taught, developed and coordinated different postgraduate teacher education programs, research and professional development projects focusing on special educational needs, collaborative teaming and inclusive education, both nationally and internationally.
- Since 2013, she works as a part-time coach and pedagogical counsellor for individual teachers, professional learning communities and learning networks, commissioned by the Pedagogical Network of Catholic Schools in the East-Flanders Province.
- Focus within Potential
- Together with Hanne Vandenbussche and Hannah Boonen, Marijke developed the inquiry based Professional Development Program (PDP), using an appreciative, collaborative approach while meeting the criteria of effective professional development. She also supported the implementation process of the PDP in professional learning communities in 18 elementary schools and 10 secondary schools, under the guidance of local coaches. Marijke developed the training program and the online coaching centre for these coaches, which supports them to coach and inspire their colleagues with inclusive learning environments.
- Having acted herself as the external coach in 5 school teams, of which 3 in elementary and 2 in secondary education, Marijke will use her insider perspective to answer the following research question: ‘How do teachers and other actors involved experience a professional development program that encourages them to collaborate in a professional learning community aiming to appreciate and exploit diversity within an inclusive learning environment’? She will use qualitative methods within a grounded theory approach, trying to reveal what is needed to promote ownership, an inquiring attitude, transfer to the teaching practice and sharing of knowledge and actions between teachers.
- Follow my work at
Publications/read us at
Vandenbussche, H., De Schauwer, E. (2017). The pursuit of belonging in inclusive education – insider perspectives on the meshwork of participation. International Journal of Inclusive Education, published online, doi: 10.1080/13603116.2017.1413686.
Roose, I., Goossens, M., Vanderlinde, R., Vantieghem, W., & Van Avermaet, P. (2018). Measuring professional vision of inclusive classrooms through video-based comparative judgement: An expert study. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 56, 71-84. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2017.11.007
Conferences/ see us at
- 2018 (New York, USA):
- Iris Roose & Wendelien Vantieghem will present at the American Educational Research Association meeting in New York (USA), in April 2018.
- In a poster presentation, Jasmien Sannen presented the ‘Competence development to create inclusive learning environments: Realizing collaborative teaming by using social network analysis’ at the EARLI SIG15 conference in Leuven (Belgium), on August 29.
- In a poster presentation, Iris Roose presented ‘Competences of teachers to create inclusive classrooms in primary and secondary education’ at the EARLI SIG11 conference in Zürich (Switzerland), in June 2016. With her poster, she won the best poster award.
- In a poster presentation, Karolien Keppens presented ‘Competence development of pre-service teachers to create inclusive learning environments by using videography’ at the EARLI SIG11 conference in Zürich (Switzerland), in June 2016.
- 2017 (Tampere, Finland)
- In a poster presentation, Jasmien Sannen presented the ‘Development and validation of a social network instrument to promote inclusive education’ at the EARLI conference in Tampere (Finland), on August 30th.
- During an ICT-demonstration, Esther Gheyssens, Iris Roose and Karolien Keppens presented ‘the e-PIC Tool: Professional vision of Inclusive Classrooms’ at the EARLI conference in Tampere (Finland), on August 30th.
- In a paper presentation, Iris Roose presented ‘Video-based comparative judgement as a method to measure teachers' professional vision’ at the EARLI conference in Tampere (Finland) in August 2017.
- In a paper presentation, Karolien Keppens presented ‘Measuring preservice teachers’ professional vision of inclusive education: videography instrument’ at the EARLI conference in Tampere (Finland) in August 2017.
- 2017 (Copenhagen, Denmark):
- In a paper presentation, Katja Petry presented the ‘Development and validation of a social network instrument to assess collaboration in inclusive schools’ at the ECER conference in Copenhagen (Denmark), on August 24.
- In a paper presentation, Wendelien Vantieghem presented “The Barometer for Diversity in Flemish schools: An explorative study into school policy & teacher attitudes towards diverse students” at the ECER conference in Copenhagen (Denmark), on August 24.
- 2017 (Athens, Greece):
- In a paper presentation, Wendelien Vantieghem presented “The Barometer for Diversity in Flemish schools: An explorative study into school policy & teacher attitudes towards diverse students” at the ESA conference in Athens (Greece) in August 2017.
- 2017 (Antwerp, Belgium):
- In a symposium, Jasmien Sannen presented the ‘Development and validation of a social network instrument to promote inclusive education’ at the conference in Antwerp (Belgium), on June 29.
- In a poster presentation, Esther Gheyssens presented “Using the DI-QUEST instrument to understand teachers’ beliefs and approaches of differentiated instruction” at the conference in Antwerp (Belgium), on June 29.
- 2017 (Ghent, Belgium):
- In a keynote-address, Hanne Vandenbussche & Wendelien Vantieghem present the Potential-project at the Velov (Vereniging Learenopleiders Vlaanderen) conference at Ghent (Belgium), on February 7 & 8