Teacher Competences Required for Personalized Learning in Innovative Schools and its Consequences for Policy.

  • Lissane Olierhoek-Bijlsma

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Since 2014, when inclusive education became part of the Dutch educational system, schools have been responsible for offering suitable educational places to children with and without special educational needs. Meanwhile, education needs more progress as attuning to differences between learners requires a change in teaching. In this context, personalized learning, which is based on students’ individual needs, is of great importance. However, switching from traditional to personalized learning is challenging. Since implementation of the concept is relatively new, a modeling example is needed.
    The aim of this thesis is to develop an in-depth understanding of the personalized learning practices in three schools, focusing on teacher competences at an individual teacher level and team level, and accompanying policy at a school level. This has led to the following main question: Which teacher competences are required for personalized learning and what are the consequences for policy?
    Participants, procedure, design
    This thesis is conducted as a qualitive case study, using a grounded theory approach. In continuation of an ongoing NRO study, three schools were approached that represent common examples within a multiple-case design. Secondary data has been obtained from the NRO research, regarding individual teacher and team competences. The sample in that study consists of teachers and employees with a leading role. The participants are 2 principals, 3 team leaders/unit directors, 1 quality manager, 1 internal supervisor and 14 teachers/coaches (47.6% male, 52.4% female, mean age 40.4 years old). Also, new data regarding school policy has been collected. This sample consists of school leaders and other employees with a leading role. The participants are 1 principal and 8 team leaders/unit directors (44.4% male, 55.6% female, mean age 38.1 years old).
    The interview format of the secondary interview data belongs to the ongoing NRO research performed by Evers. The interview format of the new interview data and documentary data is based on previous research performed by Bingham, Pane, Steiner and Hamilton.
    Systematic analysis of the data (various steps of coding text fragments) has led to a within-case analysis per school, followed by a cross-case analysis concerning all three schools. The results show that individual teacher competences are mostly related to skills, such as coaching and inspiring students. Teachers must adopt a flexible attitude and be able to cope with high work pressure. Team competences are mostly related to cooperation skills, such as communicating clearly and giving each other feedback, in a work environment based on distributed leadership. Aforementioned competences lead to a specific school policy. Schools should elaborate a clear vision, create a support base among the staff and take time for development. In addition, schools must pay attention to teachers’ professional development, based on autonomous cooperation.
    The results have led to the desired modeling example and are socially relevant for the participating schools and other schools that want to implement personalized learning. The results are also theoretically relevant, since the in-depth understanding of a relatively new concept contributes to existing theory.
    Date of Award16 Feb 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorArnoud Evers (Supervisor)


    • personalized learning
    • teacher competences
    • school policy

    Cite this

    Teacher Competences Required for Personalized Learning in Innovative Schools and its Consequences for Policy.
    Olierhoek-Bijlsma, L. (Author). 16 Feb 2020

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis