SUB-CONGRESSES 

  Thursday 29 August 2024

A

Bridging Theory and Practice in Developmental Education; a theory-driven educational concept that uses CHAT to innovate educational practice in the Netherlands

B

Innovation & research in vocational education: Congruency and consistency in theory and practices

A one day sub-congress on Thursday 29 August during ISCAR 2024

Participants are able to register for this sub-congress only. The sub-congress can also be attended by participants of ISCAR 2024 (no additional registration required). 

Join us during this subconference for an exploration into the theory and practice of Developmental Education, an innovative approach to teaching and learning. Rooted in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), this educational concept gives both teachers and students agency to develop meaningful socio-cultural activities in which learning and development can take place.

In the Netherlands, we have set up a strong network over the past decades where theory, empirical research, and educational practice work together to develop a theory-driven approach to good education. During this subconference, we will delve into how Developmental Education unfolds in early childhood classrooms and the upper grades of primary school. This program gives you a unique insight into the theoretical foundations of Developmental Education, how educational developers translate this theory into a practical concept, tools and strategies, and how teachers and school leaders put this into practice in their daily educational activities.  

Continual education and professionalization in Developmental Education

In line with the developmental vision on the development and formation of young children, a developmental approach is also applied in in-service training and professionalization within Starting Blocks and Basic development. This means working with an approach in which there is room for professionals to shape their own development (Van Oers, 2015). To this end, early childhood staff and teachers are challenged and helped to identify the areas in which they can develop further to determine their own development path. The teacher educator helps professionals by providing sources, by watching and participating in the group and by teaching them how they can use the building blocks and ingredients of Starting Blocks and Basic Development to improve their own practice. For adults, as for children, learning is a social process and linked to acting in socio-cultural practices. So they engage with colleagues in their own practice, to further develop and learn together.

Educational innovation through the teacher’s own input is not so much about transfer of theory into practice, but an interaction in which theory and practice benefit from each other. This interaction leads to further development of the teacher’s theory of practice, with which she/he can shape or renew her/his own practice.

The bicycle workshop

Play and learning in early childhood within social-cultural practices

Learning to ride a bike is a social cultural practice in the Netherlands that all small children participate in. That means children get a bike, learn to ride and take good care of their bikes. Lots of interesting activities where all kinds of things can be learned. In many classes a bicycle workshop and/or bicycle store is set up together with children.

In this practical story we show what this means for professionals and children. Their own experiences and questions are the starting point. We show what tools professionals have to build a play story together with children. There is still much to learn in order to participate more and more in the practice of cycling. This requires a mediating role of the professional who aims to develop through this socio-cultural practice. We will show what this means for the children, who develop in meaningful activities in a broad sense. This involves not only knowledge and skills, but also self-confidence and initiative, deliberation and problem solving, etc. Playing in the practice of cycling makes children not only proud and independent, but also skillful to participate in the world with all knowledge needed to do so.

The Fabric Wizards

Learning in sociocultural practices

In group 7/8 (pupils are 11 to 12 years old) of teacher Marjolein ten Cate, the pupils have set up a sewing studio: ‘The Fabric Wizards’. It is a sewing studio with a mission aimed at sustainability. All products, such as bags, backpacks, play cuddles and flag lines are made from existing fabrics and materials.

The group runs the sewing studio together. Decisions are made together and tasks are divided. This creates different working and research groups, such as a production group, a group for finances and public relations tasks.

The group is a very diverse in age, abilities, backgrounds and language skills. Quite a few pupils struggle with behavioral problems. The teacher sees opportunities in the sewing workshop for all pupils struggling with behavioral problems and also sees possibilities to achieve meaningful learning. Head and handwork come together and are used to create zones of proximal development.

The teacher plays a mediating role here, organizing a vibrant community in which instruction and interaction are tailored to the developmental and learning needs of all pupils.

A one day sub-congress on Thursday 29 August during ISCAR 2024

Participants are able to register for this sub-congress only. The sub-congress can also be attended by participants of ISCAR 2024 (no additional registration required). 

Since about ten years research groups in Dutch secondary vocational education called ‘practoraten’ have acquired a position in most VET-schools. About 100 teacher-researcher and research leaders, ‘practors’, promote research as a method of sustainable practice development in education (cf. www.practoraten.nl/in- english).

“[A] practoraat provides direct connections between research and the application of its outcomes in school practice, by applying methods of practice-based professional devolpment. Research is focused on questions raised in the educational practice by all kinds of professionals within the school.” (Cedefop, 2019).

In this sub-conference1 we will explore how Cultural-historical Activity theory (CHAT) and its methodological perspectives can support the endeavour of the specific research groups of practoraten who stimulate practice development. As Roth & Lee (2007) point out, “One of the most attractive features of CHAT for educators is that it lessens the theory-praxis gap (…)” (p.210). With core concepts and connected ways of working such as ‘double stimulation’, ‘warping towards the zone of proximal development’, historicity and agency, the interwovenness of theory, methods and practice development (Stetsenko, 2017) has shown to help improve educational practice in primary education (Van der Veen & Van Oers, 2019) and workplace development (Engeström & Sannino, 2020). Such examples could be inspiring and a (second) stimulus for practoraten.

Although VET and practoraten aim for practice development through research (MBO-raad, 2019), they tend to see practice-based research as research in which theory has less room for development. We, however, argue that the rigorous theory of CHAT and its methodology can enhance practice development. CHAT, following Vygotsky, moves ‘beyond the old divide between theory and practice and, instead, embodied their unity …’ (Stetsenko, 2017 p.116). Hence, working as researchers with other educational professionals at that insersection CHAT can be a powerful theory. Moreover, we would like to argue that merely introducing or strengthening theory within practice-based research or within practice development does not suffice. 

Besides theory as a guiding tool, a methodology fitting practice development and coherent with the theory also seems necessary. Or as Sannino (2015) puts it “In the double stimulation method the distance maintained by the experimenter in classic psychological experiments to avoid contamination bias is therefore not a concern. In this method the experimenter’s involvement and interpretive process, and not, or not only, the child’s actions, form the data for investigation and analysis” (Sannino, 2015, p.3) Double stimulation may serve that purpose.

However, how theory and methods could help to develop practices for practoren that work at a ‘double intersection’ between practice and theory (i.e. research-education and school-workplace) still needs to be discovered. We know form experience that using CHAT and its methodological perspectives is far from easy. Consistency and traceability seem to be common quality criteria in (practice-based) research but CHAT also seems to ask for congruency of researchers using the theory, its methods and supporting practice development. That is why we are curious about how the consistency, traceability and congruence in other CHAT research practices, as mentioned above, has been achieved and what the possibilities, bottlenecks, and areas of difficulty within these approaches are, so that practoren can learn from that.

Questions that will be addressed in the workshops are:

  • What are good practice examples of consistent, traceable and congruent research practices in which practice development was pursued?
  • How could the narrative of such collaboration between researchers and practitioners be an inspiration for practoraten?
  • What bottlenecks and areas of difficulty do these collaborations encounter and how do they deal with that?

Programme A

Bridging Theory and Practice in Developmental Education; a theory-driven educational concept that uses CHAT to innovate educational practice in the Netherlands

Programme B

Innovation & research in vocational education:
Congruency and consistency in theory and practices

08:00-09:00

Registration, coffee & tea

08:00-09:00

Registration, coffee & tea

09:00-10:00

Keynote Bert van Oers

09:00-10:00

Keynote Bert van Oers

10:00-10:30

Morning break with coffee & tea

10:00-10:30

Morning break with coffee & tea

10:30-11:00

Introduction on the sub-conference & getting to know each other

Bea Pompert & Chiel van der Veen 

10:30-11:00

Introducation on sub-conference theme

Marco Mazereeuw & Martijn van Schaik

11:00-12:00

Theoretical foundations of Developmental Education

Bert van Oers & Marjolein Dobber

11:00-12:00

30 years of developmental primary educationa as an example

Chiel van der Veen

12:00-13:15

Lunch break

12:00-13:15

Lunch break

13:15-14:00

Continual education and professionalization in Developmental Education

Bea Pompert & Levineke van der Meer

13:15-14:00

Break-out sessions/round tables 1

14:00-14:45

The bicycle workshop: Developmental Education in Early Childhood classrooms

Levineke van der Meer

14:00-14:45

Break-out sessions/round tables 2

14:45-15:15

Afternoon break with coffee & tea

14:45-15:15

Afternoon break with coffee & tea

15:15-16:00

The fabric wizards: Learning in socio-cultural practices in the upper grades of primary school

Marjolein ten Cate & Tessa Kruijer

15:15-16:00

Wrap up

Marco Mazereeuw & Martijn van Schaik

16:00-16:45

Reflection & wrap-up: implications for your own research and/or educational practice?

Chiel van der Veen, Bea Pompert & Marjolein ten Cate

16:00-16:45

Reflections

Monique Volman & Annalisa Sannino

16:45-17:00

Transit

16:45-17:00

Transit

17:00-18:00

Plenary keynote

17:00-18:00

Plenary keynote

18:00-22:00

Dinner (optional, additional charge)

18:00-22:00

Dinner (optional, additional charge)