“Co-creation between teacher education programmes and primary schools is a matter of course for us”
Co-creation. It’s not a magic word that appears when you snap your fingers. But it is one of the most important keywords in the new Strategic Plan. Rosanne Brinkhuis is pretty happy about that. “The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has set co-creation as a goal. In 2030, all teacher education programmes will run according to the 'co-training' principle. This means co-creation with the professional field. The Strategic Plan merges seamlessly with this.”
Rosanne is a teacher education placement coordinator. The Zuid-West Holland teacher training college (OZWH) works with five school boards across the region. Rosanne is programme leader at this teacher education college. “My role mainly involves lots of consultations with high school coordinators. Each of the five school boards has appointed a placement coordinator. I tune in with each of them once a week. If anything comes up, we can respond to it immediately. Once a month, I meet with the five coordinators all together to see how things are going. Are we all still on the same page when it comes to placement fees, for example? I also answer lots of emails every day and phone students and placement schools.”
Choosing a school
There’s intense competition in the field. And this can be difficult for new teachers. Yet the number of applications is not Rosanne's biggest concern. “It’s important that students don't go into the classroom by themselves too soon. How do we ensure that they can do real placements without too much responsibility? We arrange this with our partners.” There is also a positive side to the lack of capacity in schools for students. “In fourth year, they go through an application process. Previously, it was difficult to find a place. Now they can choose a school that best suits their final-year learning needs.”
Pioneering primary school teacher education
Rosanne strongly supports co-creation as a key theme in the Strategic Plan. “We are pioneers. The plan is all about innovative, future-oriented education and we are also working on this in coordination with the professional world. We have working groups to rethink how primary education could be organised. In a few years, it will look very different. Shortages mean more teaching assistants in the classroom. A teacher and one or two teaching assistants might oversee two groups together. The role of the teacher is changing rapidly. That’s what we are responding to in primary school teacher education with these working groups.”
A programme for new teachers
“Another great example of co-creation is the programme offered by the teacher education college for new teachers. They have completed our teacher education programme or studied somewhere else. When they start working at one of our partner schools, they are in a so-called probationary period for three years. They receive coaching and peer review. Twice a year, the teacher education college invites them to a professional skills afternoon. They can attend all kinds of workshops by primary school teacher education lecturers, professors and experts in the field.”
The same story
Rosanne will discuss the Strategic Plan with the school boards participating in the teacher education programme. “These are our permanent partners.” This collaboration goes a long way. “Students have to deal with school teachers in a professional setting. In primary school teacher education, they encounter institutional trainers. Together, they organise a student meeting every five weeks. Students learn how to apply the theory offered in primary school teacher education in practice. This is very empowering. Whenever our lecturers want to do or change something, they of course run it by school educators first. Our students put each of the topics that we offer into practice at their placement schools. That only works when there is good communication between the education college and the real world.”
Co-creation as defined in the Strategic Plan aligns with our long-term work in primary school teacher education.
- Rosanne Brinkhuis
In Stories of The Hague, we share portraits of colleagues and students, in which they talk about the connection between their own motivations and the Strategic Plan.