Prolepsis in a proces of double stimulation
[This is a narrative-in-progress for the 'Practice meets Research' session at the
EAPRIL 2015 in Luxembourg. The paper is nowhere near a draft yet. By creating it
online here I hope to share my thoughts at this early point in writing in order for
peers to comment on it. First for the session itself, but also for others to join in on
The 'paper' will be created in a non-linear way, that is, I will try to tell my view on
the way we designed the curriculum for teacher education at the university of
Amsterdam and esspecially how we tried to (re)create meaningfull, but in some case
accidental, learning experiences for students. This story therefore will be a
hypertext: a collection of related issues that I found meaningful for the narrative. I
have set up one 'path', as it is called in Scalar, that captures best my line of
reasoning. However, any reader could diverse from that path and ﬁnd his or her own
Some pages only have a very short introduction, others only the rough data or some
quotes. The core of the narrative at this moment is the case of Rob and the
theoretical reﬂection on it. See the timeline for an overview of the events.]
In this paper I’d like to discuss the case of Rob, an in service student teacher Human
& Technology at university of applied sciences Amsterdam. As a teacher educator
and researcher from the cultural historical tradition I am interested in how I can
design, in a team, a developmental teacher education curriculum that is both open
and structured; courses with content in students’ zone of proximal development
and meaningful for their (future) practice . This case will be presented as a narrative
addressing the main question: how can we design developmental teacher
education, create meaningful experiences for students and develop educational
understanding that might help students like Rob to become agential teachers?
Agency seems to be a 'hot topic' at the moment, especially within teacher education
and teacher professionalisation, as it sometimes is considered to be the key in
developing education and curriculum from the ground up (c.f. Evers & Kneyber,
2015). Subsequently, there are many deﬁnitions of agency (reference).
The English concept of agency denotes the fact that human beings are inherently
imbued with the power to act, which allows them, in contrast to other animals, to
transform the conditions in and under which they live (Holzkamp 1983b). It includes
the capacity of human beings to participate in creating their lived-in worlds rather
than merely being determined by them. The power to act is simultaneously enabled
and constrained by the structures of social/material ﬁelds of human action and by
the capacity to appropriate both human and material resources available in the
ﬁelds (Scantlebury, Gallo-Fox, and Wassell 2008). Agency can also be understood as
a breaking away from a given frame of action and as taking initiatives to transform it
(Engeström 2005). Teachers cannot therefore just ‘give’ agency to students;
students will often achieve authority through a more extended process when they
participate in gradually transforming old norms into new ones (Engle and Faux
2006; Lipponen and Kumpulainen 2011). One can understand agency and
everything that springs forth from it only by acknowledging both the enabling and
constraining aspects of the social/material ﬁelds of the lived-in world. (Kadri & Roth,
Engeströms description of agency, as cited above by Kadri and Roth, is most
relevant for this narrative, since Rob was already breaking away from his former
frame of action (engineering) and transforming it into one of being a teacher. Whilst
doing that he faced constraining factors at his school. Therefore in this case I like to
focus on the enabling factors withing the programme of the university of
Amsterdam's teacher education that helped Rob becoming an agential teacher.
1. Prolepsis in a proces of double stimulation
2. Creating accidental learning experiences on a regular basis
3. From standing in front to sitting at the round table: the case of teacher Rob.
4. Themes in professional development of teachers human and technology
5. Educational design in an open curriculum
6. Double stimulation and prolepsis: tools and talk
7. Developmental teacher education: a rough draft
Creating accidental learning experiences on a regular basis
From September 2012 until december 2014 I was a teacher educator in the 'Human
& Technology' programme at the University of applied sciences Amsterdam. My
responsibilities, among others, were to teach the students in the 'Professional
Development Line' (PDL) and take the lead in the development of the curriculum.
During a team session on the structure and content of our curriculum I presented
the case of Rob as an example of how the practice of thematic assignments in the
PDL led to a series of workshops ranging from classroom management to the
students' view on the moral signiﬁcance of teaching, with the help of Kan's 'bumpy
moments'(2010). The question raised by a collegue is the same as the one I'd like to
elaborate on in this paper:
How do we recreate such ‘accidental’ learning experiences on a regular basis?
The word 'accidental', triggered me, and some of my other collegues, because we
regarded our curriculum structured enough to ensure that student would have many
learning experiences that would ultimately lead to a competent teacher. However
the question was justiﬁed, since a programme of meaningful assignments only
could not explain, let alone account for, what competences students will or will not
develop during the programme. The answer to the question thus should describe
the actual teaching practice, involving both the assigments as well as the
interactions, classes, workshops, literature and so on.
In the PDL students basically had two tasks in every assigments: reﬂect on and
inquire the theme that is described in your own teaching practice. After an
introduction by me, possible models, theories, tools ect. were suggested and
explained. After that the students were guided in their process of reﬂection and
inquiry in an ad hoc fashion. To put it bluntly: the students were asked what they
needed help with from me. What I did do, however, was trying to stay one step
ahead of the students, in their zone of proximal development. For example the
literature to be used was not pre-ﬁxed, but I suggested sources that the students
themselves might not come accross, or theories that they would disregard because
of the complexity.
In this case I invited Carlos van Kan for a guest lecture on moral views on education,
after a discussion in the group pointed to the consistancy between what teacher do
and what they view as legitimate. I ﬁgured that for the students a deeper
understanding on the moral value of teaching could help and/or Kan's method,
bumby moments, at least would help to reﬂect on their view. This was not only
helpfull for the assigment at that time, but also might help them to deﬁne and write
their view in their portfolio, which was needed for their ﬁnal assessment the next
From standing in front to sitting at the round table: the case of teacher Rob.
Rob is an in-service student teacher and former engineer. Between September 2013
and February 2015 I was his teacher 'Professional Development Line' (PDL), a
curriculum line in the thematic Human & Technology teacher programme at the
university of applied sciences Amsterdam. When I met Rob and his peer students in
their second year in September 2013 I experienced the group as eager to teach as
well as to learn, with a practical orientation. From my perspective a typical group in
technical/engineering domain. That is, somewhat rude, but engaged with a positive
attitude that could be characterised by: ”Show me why it’s useful for my teaching
and I will engage.” Rob was very open to the group about his problems with
classroom management. As with any student that felt comfortable with it, he
showed videos of his teaching for the group to reﬂect on it. In his personal
reﬂection he writes in November 2013:
It remains hard for me to establish a relationship with the pupils. (…) My workplace
supervisor pointed me out that I should not make the same mistake !! !again like the
year before: maintain clear rules and punish when not following those. That’s where
I went wrong.! I am Rob and nobody else. I believe there are no annoying children,
but only environments that creates them.
A year and three months later, in a pre-assessment performance interview, Rob
raised the question whether his view on education, based on! Stevens’! relation-
competency-autonomy model, matches that of the school.
What has happened in between and what was my role as a teacher and that of the
thematic developmental curriculum? If there is a relation between the programme
and Rob’s development, how can we (re)create that opportunity for all students, if
What I see in Rob’s case is a development from a intuitive, practical and insecure
student teacher to a teacher with a view on education, that is at least partly based
on theory. Rob seems almost ready to take a stand against his supervisor and he
realizes that the mismatch between his view and the school’s might have
I’d like to think that the opportunity for Rob to ask me and his peers for feedback on
his teaching problems might have inﬂuenced this development. Especially, since by
the peer students the question was raised whether Rob really agreed with his
supervisor (otherwise the intended intervention would not work). Moreover, in
another block of the PD-line that year the theme “The pupil in the school”
developed under students’ inﬂuence from classroom management to pedagogical
views based on Kan (2013).
Continue to “Themes in professional development of teachers human and
Themes in professional development of teachers human and technology
The professional development line in the curriculum can be characterised by the
themes of the 'professional assignments' (PA's) that form the core of the curriculum.
In a PA student conduct an inquiry into a theme in which experiences from practice
are connected to theory. Below the collection of themes and descriptions (Dutch, to
be translated) of the assignments.
Year 1, period 1
Images of education
Deze beroepsopdracht betreft een oriëntatie op werken in het onderwijs. Studenten
maken kennis met de diversiteit van het onderwijsveld, de kenmerken van de
vakles, docenten en leerlingen. Binnen deze beroepsopdracht is er veel aandacht
voor de startpositie en de studievaardigheden van de student.
Year 1, period 2
Teaching, the basics
In het tweede semester van het eerste studiejaar starten de studenten in
vergelijking tot voorgaande jaren met een tamelijk intensieve stage. Studenten
geven minimaal vijf hele lessen. In de begeleidende beroepsopdracht leren
studenten hoe ze een les vorm moeten geven (het casco van een huis) en verdiepen
zij zich in de basis van pedagogisch handelen, zoals groepsdynamica en
basisbehoeften van leerlingen.
Year 2, period 1
Students' learning and eﬀective interaction
Beroepsopdracht 3 bouwt voort op ‘Lesgeven, de basis’. Van studenten wordt
verwacht dat zij zicht krijgen op het leren van hun leerlingen en dat zij in staat zijn
hun lessen zodanig in te richten dat er daadwerkelijk wordt geleerd. (Dit is als het
ware de inrichting van het huis.) Onderwerpen die aan bod komen zijn onder andere
activerende didactiek, taalgericht vakonderwijs, een positief- leer en werkklimaat
Year 2, period 2
Critical use of a pre-formated teaching method
Year 3, period 1
Acknowledging students' diﬀerences in the classroom
In het eerste semester hebben de studenten bij Ontwikkeling van de Adolescent
kennis gemaakt met leerlingen in allerlei soorten in maten. In deze beroepsopdracht
leren de studenten hoe zij rekening kunnen (moeten) houden met die diversiteit.
Het gaat daarbij om verschillen in leerstijlen, niveau, in achtergronden en om leer-
Voorlopige leerdoelen: Visie:
·De student kan de eigen visie onderzoeken en ontwikkelen (en op grond van deze
visie het passend onderwijs vormgeven, beargumenteren en evalueren).
Zorgstructuur:De student kan de zorgstructuur op een school beschrijven en kent de
begeleidingstrajecten voor leerlingen met verschillende zorgbehoeften.
·De student kan taken van de mentor beschrijven bij het verwijzen van
· De student werkt methodisch en komt tot handelingsstrategieën (bijv. d.m.v. een
Leer- en gedragsstoornissen:
·Studenten kunnen de meest voorkomende leer- en gedragsstoornissen noemen,
signaleren en beschrijven hoe ze hier als
mentor mee om moeten gaan. Gesprekstechnieken:
·Studenten zetten relevante kennis en vaardigheden in om doelgerichte gesprekken
te voeren met leerlingen met speciﬁeke onderwijsbehoeftes.Metavaardigheden:
·De student reﬂecteert op de eigen ontwikkeling en formuleert leerpunten voor de
De student kan theorie en praktijk koppelen en de theorie in de praktijk toepassen.
Hij beschrijft op welke wijze hij het geleerde, de theorie kan vertalen naar de
praktijk en past dit ook daadwerkelijk toe.
Year 4, period 1
The teacher in the school context
Als docent heb je niet alleen met je eigen klas en school te maken, maar ook met de
omgeving waarin de school opereert. De student maakt in deze beroepsopdracht
kennis met schoolbegeleidingsdiensten, met ouders en de omgeving van de
leerlingen, met landelijke vakverenigingen en door de politiek opgestelde inhouds-
Educational design in an open curriculum
What I have learned from the case of Rob is that developmental teacher education,
thus designing education ‘on the go’ inﬂuenced by students, can support students
teacher identity development. However, the question is how to design educational
tasks in an open thematic way, making sure minimal requirements for content and
level are met and opportunities likes those of Rob can be created for all students, if
The teacher team of the teacher education Human & Technology worked in a
thematic curriculum. In order to keep the professional standards for teachers and
the general goals that we have. For that purpose we used what is called the ‘goal
circle’, a tool that is used in developmental primary education and that we adjusted
for the teacher programme.
Double stimulation and prolepsis: tools and talk
My preliminary answer to the question!how do we recreate such ‘accidental’ learning
experiences on a regular basis?
involves the concepts double stimulation and double stimulation.
Double stimulation is the process in which persons are facing a complex problems
(ﬁrst stimulus) in the actual situation that cannot be solved with the tools and skills
already at hand, but need new auxiliary means (second stimulus) that can help solve
the problem (Van Oers, 2014).
In de PDL relfection and inquiry are the two key assignments the students have in
every theme. Within theme 'classroom management' the task for the students was
to analyse the social structure in the classroom and the way their teaching might
innﬂuence that structure and the culture of the classroom. The educational task of
reﬂection and inquiry on his practice may have been the ﬁrst stimulus for Rob. The
ﬁrst stimulus in a way created the problem to be solved: how to manage the
classroom in an authentic way.
The second stimulus then would be the theory Robs ﬁnds helpful to formulate his
view on education in general and hence his own direction for solving the problem
of classroom management. To be speciﬁc: Luc Stevens' theory, based on Deci and
Ryan's three! basic psychological needs relation, autonomy, competence. For Rob it
became clear that he was a teacher that regarded his relation with the students as
the core of his teaching.
The question now is however: how did Rob came accross his auxiliary means? What
triggered him to start reading Luc Stevens (and others)? My answer would be that
within the learning community the students an I formed the interaction that took
place funcioned as 'prolepsis'.
“Prolepsis refers to communicative move in which the speaker presupposes some
as yet unprovided information (…) a challenge that forces the listener to construct a
set of assumptions in order to make sense of the utterance.” (Stone, 1993, p. 171)
In this case what might have happened is that by means of peer support Rob was
challenged to connect his classroom management problems with theory and an
explicate his view on education, so that he eventually could deﬁne a direction for
his professional development that ﬁtted that view.
Developmental teacher education: a rough draft
Let me now discuss the thematic curriculum as a form of double stimulation (a
formative intervention). First stimulus is the assignment, that is in this case in de
PDL, inquire your classroom and analyse pedagogic structure (relation teacher -
student and activities). Rob came with his problem, the second stimulus that we
tried to help with.
As a teacher I tried to take a step forward by introducing Kan, as prolepsis.
From maintance of trains to teacher electronical engineering
To be translated
Sr. Maintanance Engineer
Teamleader 'Energy' at Amsterdam metro company
Teacher Electrical Engineering
1-11-2011 - current
Timeline of the study
Below an overview of the events during the programme I taught Rob and when the
data was collected.
El Kadri, M. S., & Roth, W.-M. (2015). Co-teaching/co-generative dialogues in a
teaching education program as room for agency and new forms of participation: “I
found Jesus in [writing] the paper.” Teacher Development, 19(1), 40–58. doi:
Evers, J., & Kneyber, R. (2016). Flip the system: changing education from the ground
up. Abingdon, Oxon ; Routledge
Stone, C. A. (1993). What is missing in the metaphor of scaﬀolding? In: E. A. Forman,
N. . Minick, & C. A. Stone (Eds.), Contexts for learning: Sociocultural dynamics in
children’s development, Child development in families, schools and society (Vol. 2,
pp. 169–183). Oxford: Oxford university press.
Van Kan, C. A.! (2013, October 10). Teachers’ interpretations of their classroom
interactions in terms of their pupils’ best interest: A perspective from continental
European pedagogy. Dissertatie, . Retrieved May 31, 2015, from https://
Van Oers, B. (2014). Implementing a play-based curriculum: Fostering teacher
agency in primary school. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction. doi: 10.1016/