Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Characteristics and conditions of reflective dialogue in the context of Dutch primary school teachers that collaborate and work together

Reflective dialogue is an effective instrument for professional learning of teachers. This research considers the characteristics, development, stimulating and limiting conditions for reflective dialogues in the context of Dutch primary school teachers who collaborate and learn together. The goal is to develop an intervention to stimulate teacher learning.

2019 - 2024
Simone Rijksen
NWO promotiebeurs voor leraren NWO promotiebeurs voor leraren


  • S. Rijksten MSc - PhD candidate
  • prof.dr. W.F. Admiraal - supervisor
  • prof.dr. N. Saab - co-supervisor

Research questions

This research addresses the following research questions in the context of Dutch primary schools who work and learn together:

  1. What are the characteristics of reflective dialogue?
  2. How does a reflective dialogue develop over time?
  3. What are stimulating and limiting factors for reflective dialogues on the school level, group level and individual level? 
  4. How can a reflective dialogue be stimulated with the goal of enhancing the professional learning of primary school teachers? 

Social relevance

It is generally agreed that the quality of teachers is an important factor for determining the quality of education. In the Netherlands, teachers improve their quality of teaching practice by participating in professional development activities. Considering teachers’ time is limited, these professional learning activities need to be effective and efficient.

Reflective dialogue satisfies the need for professional learning that has a close connection with teaching, student learning and daily practice. Therefore, this research provides practical recommendations and an intervention tool for school leaders and teachers that collaborate and learn together. 

Scientific relevance

Despite the fact that many researchers confirm the positive relation between reflective dialogues and teachers’ professional learning, empirical research on this topic remains limited. For that reason, researchers suggest further explorative research on the individual characteristics of reflective dialogues in order to examine how to stimulate this dialogue in an appropriate, effective way and to explain differences between groups of teachers.

Material and methods

This project consists of four studies with a combination of qualitative and quantitative research. Case-studies of teacher meetings will be observed and analysed. An analytical framework will be developed to describe the characteristics of reflective dialogue. In addition, interviews will provide information about stimulating and limiting conditions for reflective dialogue. The first three studies will provide design principles for the design-study. 

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