Learning Together for a Better School: A study into the development of the agency of studying teachers in collaborative processes between educational programs and professional practice (PhD research)

Duration: 2019 – 2022
Supervising Lecturer: Prof. Cok Bakker
Researchers: Anita Emans (PhD candidate)
Associated Trainings: Master Educational Needs (MEN)

Brief Summary of the Research Project

In this PhD research, Anita Emans focuses on teachers who participate in post-graduate professionalization. With her research she wants to acquire more insight into how these teachers can be assisted, during their professionalization, in creating a rich learning environment. A learning environment in which formal learning and professional practice are well-attuned to one another. She investigates how meaningful cooperation in the workplace can form a learning setting for professionalization. She wants to illuminate how these cooperation processes can help professionals in developing agency: making conscious decisions, and having the ability to exert influence on their work and professional role, in order to contribute to good education.

Scientific Relevance

Although much research has shed light into factors for effective collaboration, there is little insight into agency-promoting mechanisms in collaborative processes, and how these are affected by individual and organisational factors. By intensively exploring these processes in varying professionalization situations, this research contributes to the knowledge of the development of agency. The research also provides educational insights and validated tools that can be helpful in combining formal and workplace leaning.

Practical Relevance

Through intense cooperation between formal learning situations and professional practice, student-professionals can make better use of their learning outcomes in improving their professional practice. The intense cooperation between formal educators and professionals in de workplace enhances the learning climate and strengthens the professional networks of organisations involved. This is important for the development of a learning educational sector.

Consortium/Project Partners

The research is supported by a PhD research voucher. The research partners will be determined in the future. This is a multiple case study of three parallel cases with a duration of two years. Together with administrators from our network we select promising cases: collaborative processes between teachers in partnerships between formal learning and professional practice in which long-term school development is pursued and several teachers are involved, of which at least three are student-professionals.


The insights and results will be described in four articles, to be published: 

  1. An article about the importance of collaboration between formal learning processes and professional practice in post-graduate professionalization programmes, to set up a coherent system of learning in relation to the professional practice of student-professionals.
  2. An article on ways in which the development of agency in collaborative processes between teachers can be studied. 
  3. An article on mechanisms that promote the development of agency in collaborative processes between teachers in the context of educational innovation. 
  4. An article with examples and guidelines on how formal learning programmes and schools together can create meaningful professionalization of teachers.


In addition to implementation in the curriculum of higher education, the acquired insights can be disseminated through workshops, conferences and publications in scientific journals and professional journals.

Normative Professionalization

Moral Dimension Of Teachers’ Professional Development

About the Research Group