CAD.20.018 – Building Teacher Leadership to Improve Social Studies Education

Route: Child and adolescent development, upbringing and education

Cluster question: 065 What should education be like in the future?

An important task of primary schools is to develop students’ knowledge of the world. Through social studies, students learn to better understand and research the world around them, which equips them to participate in our multi-layered and democratic society and gives them a better understanding of their own identities. In addition, social studies education is of great importance for language development. Research shows that reading and writing skills largely depend on general world knowledge.
However, the quality of social studies education is under severe pressure. We have identified several challenges, such as the need to improve the knowledge of the world among students, to address the upcoming curriculum renewal in terms of developing better learning lines, to make social studies education more relevant for students, and to link it to language development aims.
The proposed research aims to develop teacher leadership in upper primary education so that teachers can function as ‘change agents’ i.e. become teachers who make a difference for their students and social studies education at their schools. The objectives are to develop: 1) a clear vision on social studies education and shared curricular leadership (school level); 2) evidence-based and innovative subject-specific pedagogic competences, competences in language-oriented education and the ability to make connections between school, home and the students’ resources (teacher level) and 3) powerful knowledge of the world, thinking and language skills, and insight into themselves (student level).
This interdisciplinary partnership brings together teachers, teacher educators, experts in social studies education, language education and teacher leadership. On the basis of scientific knowledge, an exploration of the existing experience and knowledge of students and teachers (needs and context analysis), interventions will be developed to improve social studies education and teacher leadership (design and formative evaluation), which will eventually be scaled up to intervention studies (summative evaluation).


funds of knowledge, powerful knowledge, social studies education, teacher leadership

Other organisations

Fontys Hogescholen, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht University (UU)


Organisation Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA)
Name prof. dr. C.A.M. (Carla) van Boxtel