Students as Partner (SaP) is a growing movement focused on cooperation between students and educational professionals. Its aim is to ingrain students as equal and active partners in shaping the learning environment.
SaP focusses on the relationships between students, teachers and staff as this is an integral part of both the student and staff experience at Inholland. SaP both challenges and transforms a lingering traditionality in which students and staff relate to one another as learner and instructor. Through SaP, Inholland aims to positively affect the quality of education and create a satisfying and positively challenging learning environment for both students and teachers.
The recently awarded Comenius Scholarship has provided a consortium of researchers at Inholland the opportunity to implement and research SaP within Inholland and to further support for SaP within our institute.
During the upcoming SaP-project, students, teachers and the organisation of Inholland will collaborate on a number of innovative projects. The project teams will pilot a range of initiatives within educational programmes, lab-based settings and the student success centres of Inholland. The exact focus of each pilot is partly dependent on the teams themselves and what they together decide will be their objective. This will lead to a variety of pilots that will be developed in the coming years with the first batch starting this September.
The teams might focus on for instance designing new educational methods, developing new (digital) learning materials, starting a mentor programme, organising events or even redesigning the physical learning spaces of a building. This range of projects will allow the research-team to monitor and learn from differences and changes both in the student-staff relationships and in the personal developments of the people involved through a variety of research methods. Simultaneously, Inholland and the consortium will support and advise the SaP-movement through learning communities and workshops.
"I believe we can positively influence the future of education by having students, teachers and staff working together to transform it."
SaP offers educational institutions the opportunity to stimulate inclusivity and participation within their institutional culture. To treat students as partners means to value and to incorporate their perspectives – and to do so consistently within the organisation to foster cooperation with students at every level. This will contribute to a sense of community and will in the end improve the quality of education.
Furthermore, SaP will create opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation among students and teachers. As they work together across their fields of expertise, this approach to education stimulates new ideas and drives students and teachers to tackle complex problems in innovative ways.
The collaborative essence of SaP stimulates a culture of education that is inclusive, participatory and innovative which will enhance the educational experience at Inholland. By developing ways for students to influence the course of their education as experts in their own right, we can collaborate to transform education and together prepare students and teachers to face future challenges head on and positively impact society.
Through SaP, students get to meaningfully contribute to their own learning experience. Instead of being mere receivers of education, students are encouraged to contribute to transforming education into an active learning environment which ingrains the student voice throughout the organisation. SaP will stimulate ownership and responsibility in students, which in turn will lead to an enhanced understanding of and involvement in the entire learning process, boosting student motivation. In the long run, this will likely increase student satisfaction, student wellbeing and their learning outcomes.
Simultaneously, these developments will continue to offer teachers more opportunities to cooperate with, to support and to inspire students. This will likely positively affect the professional and personal wellbeing of teachers.
By increasing active participation through SaP, we expect an improved pedagogical relationship, a greater sense of belonging amongst the students who participate and improved wellbeing of both students and teachers involved. SaP contributes to developing essential skills (e.g. critical thinking, communication skills and cooperation capabilities) among students; skills that help prepare them for future career opportunities.