Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Diversity in educational goals: a toolbox for realizing educational ideals within the context of the school profile

Schools of secondary education are assigned to (further) develop a curriculum vision regarding three functions of education (Sectorakkoord VO, 2014; 2018).: qualification, socialization, and subjectification (Biesta, 2015). This research project is aimed at developing instruments that help schools identify, operationalize and/or further develop their goals regarding the functions of education.

2018  -   2021
Kevin Zweeris


  • K. Zweeris - PhD candidate
  • prof. dr. F.J.J.M. Janssen - supervisor
  • dr. E.H. Tigelaar - c0-supervisor

How can schools of secondary education, that differ based on their educational, pedagogical, philosophical and/or religious profile, identify and (further) operationalize their educational goals regarding functions of education?

Social relevance

Education is not only about learning the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for work and life (qualification), but also about being initiated in traditions and in ways of being and doing (socialization), and about becoming a person and taking position and responsibility (subjectification) (Biesta, 2012). In a constantly changing society, research on how to engage in dialogue about functions of education, and developing education accordingly, is crucial for education to remain meaningful.

Scientific relevance

Engaging in dialogue about functions of education, and developing education accordingly, is challenging as it is. Despite growing attention for this topic in recent years (Biesta, 2012; 2015; Nussbaum, 2014; Onderwijsraad, 2013; 2016), few (scientifically informed) methodologies have been developed to bridge the gap between (abstract) scientific theories and everyday educational practices.

Therefore, this research project aims to develop scientifically informed instruments that help teachers and schools identify their educational goals, and to gain insights in what educational goals underlie everyday practices in various educational contexts of secondary education.

Research questions

What goals do teachers in participating schools have regarding functions of education, and how do these goals relate to their school’s profile?

What instruments can support (teams of) teachers in identifying their educational goals, and concretize those goals in their daily practices?

Materials and methods

Several sources of data will be used: interviews, among which goal system interviews, observations, field notes, and focus groups. Also, a meta-ethnographic study will be conducted to synthesize a conceptual framework surrounding the variety of functions of education.

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