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Meaningful Education and a just and caring society - place for five external PhD students

Chair group

Education

You can also have a look on the Dutch website.

Supervisor

Prof Doret de Ruyter, Professor of Education

Citizenship Education for a Just and Caring Society


1.

Chair   Education
Supervisors Dr. Isolde de Groot  & prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter

Field of Research:  Teacher disclosure in discussing moral-political issues in schools

Discussions of open (unsettled) moral-political issues arguably represent one of the most potentially meaningful tools for developing democratic citizenship skills. Yet, even experienced teachers tend to avoid topics about which they have strong views, or choose silence or neutrality to protect themselves against charges of dogmatism or indoctrination. To deepen insight into how teachers can best cultivate democratic citizenship and promote well-being for all students in schools, PhD students are invited to investigate teacher disclosure practices and student experiences around morally or politically sensitive issues, such as support for LGBTI identities, religious identities or minority culture identities.

Examples of research questions

What teacher disclosure related issues do teachers and students in Dutch schools experience?


Place for:

 1 external PhD student 

PhD students may be interested to investigate teachers’ experiences as well as students’ experiences through interviews and observation and analysis of course materials to discover how the teachers and students respond to and collaborate with each other in discussing unsettled moral-political issues. Schools can be secondary schools or schools for vocational education

Contact and information

 i.degroot@uvh.nl


2. 

Chair   Education
Supervisors Dr. Wouter Sanderse  &  Prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter

Field of Research:  Education for personal and moral formation

There is widespread agreement that schooling involves more than simply transmitting knowledge and skills about core subjects to pupils. But what is this ‘more’? Over the last two decades, part of the answer has been that on all levels schools should pay attention to students’ personal and moral formation. To describe what this means, a variety of terms has been used, ranging from ‘persoonsvorming’, ‘morele vorming’, ‘karaktervorming’, ‘subjectificatie’, ‘identiteitsontwikkeling’ and ‘Bildung’. It is not always immediately clear what these notions (most of which were introduced a long time ago) mean for students living in the 21st century. For example, they need to be rethought to fit the liberal, pluralistic and technological societies we live in today. Also, the approaches need to be adjusted to a specific educational level and professional domain. For, example, personal formation will mean something else for a pupil in primary school than a student in vocational education. The main question animating the field is what does it mean to cultivate oneself personally and morally in today’s society? 

Examples of research questions

Character education 

o What does character education mean in schools in a late modern society? 

o To what extent can citizenship education be understood in terms of character education · 

Bildung 

o What is the relevance of the German Bildung tradition for vocational education today? 

o Can Bildung provide an alternative framework that challenges the dominant discourse in education?

Place for:

 1 external PhD student 

PhD students may be interested to investigate teachers’ experiences as well as students’ experiences through interviews and observation and analysis of course materials to discover how the teachers and students respond to and collaborate with each other in discussing unsettled moral-political issues. Schools can be secondary schools or schools for vocational education

Contact and information

 w.sanderse@uvh.nl


3. 

Chair   Education
Supervisors Dr. Wouter Sanderse & Prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter

Field of Research:  Role modelling in schools  

Moral education refers to more or less intentional efforts to enable (young) people to live a good life, individually and with others. Most approaches to moral education recognise that role modelling is an important method to promote young people’s moral development, also in schools. It is fundamental, in the sense that if teachers do not model the behaviour they expect from children, other methods are not likely to be effective. Moreover, when asked how young people morally develop in schools, role modelling is mentioned most by teachers. However, it remains a mystery how role modelling works, when it is justified, and what effects may be expected from it.  

Examples of research questions

There are conceptual and normative questions to be asked about the desirability and possibility of (un)intentional role modelling by teachers in a pluralistic society. In addition, there is hardly any knowledge about how teachers model capacities such as moral perception, reasoning, motivation and action in the classroom, and whether students recognise their teachers’ (un)intentional efforts. Finally, it would be interesting and useful to find out how (preservice) teachers can be stimulated to develop their function as moral exemplars further. 

Place for:

 1 external PhD student 


Contact and information

w.sanderset@uvh.nl


4. 

Chair   Education
Supervisors Dr. Isolde de Groot, dr. Marie-Christine Opdenakker & prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter

Field of Research:  Promoting Political self-efficacy in Vocational Education

The main theme of this research is promoting efficacy beliefs of vocational students in political matters. Students in vocational education tend to underestimate their ability to influence political processes and therefore tend to shy away from politics (also at a local political level). This also means that their voices are not heard. So far, scientific research has missed this group of youngsters, even though they are large part of the population. This research wants to fill the gap and gain more insight into the development of these students’ political self-efficacy. Furthermore, the research that has been done focuses on individual students, while it might be better to enhance the sense of political self-efficacy of these youngsters through collective efficacy. But how does individual and collective political efficacy mutually enforce or undermine each other? 

Examples of research questions

How does individual and collective political efficacy mutually enforce or undermine each other?

How does research based education program X impact the efficacy of vocational students in political matters?

Place for:

1 external PhD student 

PhD students may be inspired by these questions to develop an intervention study to be conducted within schools of vocational education, involving the students themselves, but also teachers, career coaches and the leadership. This could be primarily qualitative, but also quantitative (in which case dr. Marie-Christine Opdenakker will join the group as she is an expert in quantitative research).

Contact and information

 i.degroot@uvh.nl


5. 

ChairEducation
Supervisors Dr. Marie-Christine Opdenakker & prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter

Field of Research: Citizenship, education, development and enhancement of prosocial behaviour 

Good citizenship and citizenship education are currently high on the agenda in many Western countries since the social cohesiveness of the society is, among other things, challenged. Citizenship education and the promotion of good citizenship skills at school are seen as means to stimulate social cohesiveness. In particular, the stimulation and enhancement of a prosocial attitude and students’ prosocial behaviour (i.e., intentional voluntary acts to benefit others such as helping others, sharing, being kind and cooperative) is important since it helps to enlarge the quality of close relationships and interactions with other individuals and groups. Teachers and peers are argued to play an important role in the development and enhancement of students’ prosocial attitude and behaviour.

Research projects can be focused on exploring the meaning of prosocial behaviour in an educational context and expanding our understanding of classroom conditions and mechanisms that enhance, stimulate and nurture students’ prosocial behaviour. Examples of classroom conditions are teacher-provided interpersonal support, supportive peer relationships and peer/classroom climate. 

o What does prosocial behaviour and a prosocial attitude mean in an educational context and how is it related to empathy and well-being?

o What are students’ motives and barriers to develop and show prosocial behaviour and attitude and how can they be motivated? 

Examples of research questions

o To what degree and in what ways can teachers/interventions stimulate the development of students’ prosocial behaviour and attitude? What are necessary conditions to be effective and supportive?

o What role play peers and class climate in students’ development of prosocial behaviour? What are undermining (classroom) conditions (teacher behaviour, peers) for the development of prosocial behaviour?

Place for:

3 external PhD students

Contact and information

 m.opdenakker@uvh.nl


6. 

Chair   Education
Supervisors Prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter (with a (co-)promotors to be selected, dependent on the particular question the PhD student wants to address)

Field of Research:  Education for flourishing

Increasingly, the purpose of education is described as the teachers’ assistance to the possibility that the new generation will be able to flourish as adults. However, various conceptions abound in academic and professional literature.  So, if teachers pursue the flourishing of their pupils, what do they actually aim for and how do they do it?  

The relation between education and flourishing also requires further theoretical and empirical research. It could be argued that education enables flourishing – children beings need to be introduced into the social, cultural and natural world by and in relation to teachers, for they need to be able to make sense of their world. But what is the educational implication precisely? On the other hand,  flourishing enhances education – when teachers and students flourish in their teaching and learning, their relations will prosper and both the teaching and learning will have a higher quality. But when are teachers and students flourishing?

Examples of research questions

What does human flourishing as the purpose of education mean for the curriculum or for the pedagogical relationship between teacher(s) and pupils?

How does the aim of human flourishing relate to citizenship education?

Does education for flourishing require flourishing teachers and if so, what is a flourishing teacher? 

Is aiming for human flourishing compatible with aiming for equal opportunities for all pupils?

Does it make sense to aim for human flourishing when pupils grow up in circumstances of adversity?

Is the conceptualisation of human flourishing worldview dependent and if so, what does that mean for education?

Place for:

 2 external PhD students

Contact and information

 d.deruyter@uvh.nl


7. 

Chair Education
Supervisors 

dr. Isolde de Groot,  Prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter and dr. Anneke Sools (Twente University)

Field of Research:  Teacher agency for futures education 

Futures consciousness education (FCE) prepares students to use the future as guide for present behaviour and decisions. Futures consciousness can be defined as an individual’s capacity to consider future consequences, feeling empowered to influence their courses of action, openly assessing alternative courses and striving for a better future[1]. Literature on FCE demonstrates a variety of benefits for participating students: it promotes better school results, a broader understanding of the world[2] and better ability to cope with complex and unexpected situations. Research on FCE has in common a focus on the meaning and the benefits for students. Few studies have examined the role of and impact on teachers. Yet, the quality of FCE depends on the way teachers think about what their students can and should learn about the future. This is particularly a challenge for teachers of special needs youth whose future perspectives are known to be narrow, and subject to stereotypical ideas of who and what they can become.

PhD students may be interested to investigate features of, as well as shifts in, teacher agency of teachers involved in the FutureMe art-education programme for special needs students aged 12-15 years, which is currently being developed in collaboration with artists, teachers, and scholars.

Examples of research questions

What are features of, as well as shifts in, teacher agency of teachers involved in the FutureMe art-education programme for special needs students aged 12-15 years?

Place for:

 1 external PhD student 

Contact and information

 i.degroot@uvh.nl


8.

Chair   Education
Supervisors Dr. Isolde de Groot, dr. Wouter Sanderse & prof.dr. Doret de Ruyter

Field of Research:  Wisdom of teachers and school leaders in cultivating democracy in schools 

This study focuses on the moral/political issues that teachers face in the context of cultivating democracy in schools, i.e. providing students and teachers with opportunities to engage in school politics, promoting a culture of interpersonal respect and equity, and discussing democratic principles and outlooks. Cultivating democracy in schools requires not only national citizenship curricula and research-based experiential and dialogical methods, but also teachers and school leaders to have the wisdom to deal with the moral/political issues involved, i.e. the ability to assess what is desirable in the concrete situations that a professional encounters. However, we still know little about teachers’ and school leaders’ experiences with moral/political issues in schools and the extent to which these issues are utilized to promote their wisdom in cultivating democracy in schools.
Examples of research questions

To which extent – and how – are teachers’ and school leaders’ experiences with moral/political issues in schools utilized to promote their wisdom in cultivating democracy in schools?

Place for:

 1 external PhD student 

PhD students are invited to address these gaps in our knowledge, by examining the prevalence of moral/political issues in schools in the Netherlands as well as how teachers’ and school leaders’ wisdom may grow through engagement in normative case study (NCS) discussions about the issues that they face.

Contact and information

 i.degroot@uvh.nl

Supervised by professor Doret de Ruyter.