'Creating lasting change in a school climate'

Start Up Campus Haarlem in conversation with Lian van Hecke

Lian van Hecke

Lian van Hecke (26) part-time Pabo student, is on a mission to implement 'recovery-oriented working' in Dutch schools with her training agency Positive Movement. The Growth Program of Start Up Campus Haarlem is helping her realize her ambitions.

I persevere because I believe in it!
"In the Netherlands, I am the second with a Master of Science in Restorative Practices (Recovery-oriented working). People around me sometimes say, 'What are you doing?'. I can understand them because restorative work is still unknown in the Netherlands. But I am fighting to change this. For five years now, I have been studying this subject specifically. I persevere because I believe in it.

Recovery-oriented work is not just a method I roll out in my work, it is my lifestyle. My attitude always starts with 'together', it is about making connections and building relationships with each other. People are happier, more engaged, and more productive when they experience connection. Now, I guide schools and municipalities with Recovery-oriented work and hear 'This helps us so much!'. Then I know, it's right what I feel and do."

The social piece is much more important
 "After my training in America, I could not sufficiently express my passion in my work. So for me, it was abundantly clear: to make it work in the Netherlands, I had to start doing it myself. 

I support schools in implementing Recovery-oriented working. And I do this by providing training and intervention and becoming part of the team. I want to create a lasting change in the school climate. Recovery-oriented working is not a 'quick-fix'. Therefore, I strive to be part of a multi-year plan. 

The emphasis in the current school system is too much on 'high and low', causing children to weigh their sense of worthiness against this.  The social piece is much more important. Of course, math and writing are necessary, but being a good person is more valuable. Connection is one of our most important basic needs. That's why you feel so bad when you are excluded. You want to belong to the group. You need that to survive.

Conflict in the schoolyard or classroom is, sometimes, seen as an interruption to learning. 'It takes away from class time'. But this is precisely learning! They get a life lesson as a gift."

Relationships first, then work.
"In my work, I always look to connect with a school's needs. My ambition is to train the team in such a way that they can use this method themselves. I want to empower them, this is how I ensure sustainable change.

Because of my sincere and accessible attitude, I am easily absorbed in a team. They soon feel at ease with me. And that is also my goal. First the relationship, then the work.

People soon notice that I am, not only very passionate but also have all the knowledge. I do look at the current system in a completely different way, and they often find that very refreshing and inspiring. If I can leave an impression and people remember my name, that's incredibly cool!"

Entrepreneurship from your heart
In February, I participated in Start Up Campus Haarlem's Growth Programme. This came exactly at the right time. I just started a new collaboration with Ligand, a Belgian organization, and got a great new job for the municipality of Hoogeveen in Drenthe. It was so nice that there was a group in SUCH 'beside' you to think with and ask questions to. All the participants understand that doing business alongside your studies can be challenging. The workshops were directly applicable. For example, Accounting and Sales. I was looking for this. Now I apply the new knowledge and trust that I will succeed. 

To students who also want to do business, I would say: 'do business from the heart'. Then, you will be the most motivated. Many people think something of your idea, and maybe, in the beginning, you don't know where to start. But above all, don't be discouraged. You soon notice that you have developed yourself over the years. Persevere, believe in yourself, and stand up for what you find important. Then, you will succeed!

About SUCH:
Start Up Campus Haarlem is the place for entrepreneurial students of Inholland University of Applied Sciences. Through an inspiring five-month program of events and workshops, you work on your entrepreneurial skills, and your network grows rapidly. Entrepreneurship starts at Start Up Campus Haarlem! Do you want to know when the next Start or Growth program starts? Check our Instagram or website.

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