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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Preface by Harrie Poulssen


Welcome to Catholic Pabo Zwolle or KPZ as we like to call ourselves. KPZ is an university of applied science, teacher training college, that focuses on:

  • students becoming excellent primary school teachers;
  • practice-based study;
  • providing valuable educational development

KPZ is exceptional because of its willingness to think outside of the box which sometimes means we  deviate from mainstream ideas, its unique educational concept which aims to develop the professional teacher’s with outstanding outcomes.

  • personal development and cooperation

  • an open inquisitive attitude  and its striving after quality

KPZ provides a fertile learning environment, creates a strong community spirit and offers sincere personal attention, personal development and cooperation, an open and inquisitive attitude and its striving after quality.



Educational institutions constantly struggle with the question which targets and issues to prioritize. Should emphasis be put on cognition or talent, on theory or practice, on result or development?

KPZ does not want to make over-simplified choices but deal with apparent opposites in a nuanced considered manner. For example between focusing on the development of the child on the one hand and realizing the necessary social output on the other. Hereby KPZ takes a permanent interaction between opposing forces into consideration. It tries to find a balance between doing the right thing and doing things right, between tradition and reform, internal and external factors and between process and result. This balance, the connection between seemingly opposing values can be observed everywhere in KPZ’s culture, in its educational supply and its activities.This symbol of continuity and movement (represented by the diagram of the glasses) stands for the range of ideas embodied by KPZ. It clearly shows how opposing forces connect and influence each other.


Thanks to its small scale the strength of KPZ lies in its focus on people. The personal contact between students and lecturers is deemed very important by KPZ. An open attitude where people dare to be critical and are not afraid to make mistakes is according to us a precondition for learning from each other and this can only thrive in an environment where people collaborate on the basis of trust. Thinking in terms of connection and balance is strongly expressed in the warm and at the same time challenging environment offered to the students. An environment in which security, trust and challenge co-exist.

KPZ is a strong and close learning community in which respect, cooperation, honesty, meeting each other and the catholic values are central. From its social responsibility and an open catholic identity KPZ stimulates students from whatever background to undertake their own development. KPZ gives students every opportunity for personal development; a human being and as a teacher with backbone, guts and a strong professional identity; with experience of life filled with educational skills, socio-cultural awareness and a proper moral compass.


An ambiance that stimulates and invites you to develop yourself, is partly defined by the physical environment but mainly created by human being. Staff members have an important role in this. From them enthusiasm, attention and dedication is expected to support the students in their development. For KPZ co-operating and connecting with the field is invaluable. Co-operation after all leads to new knowledge and insight, to inspiration and initiatives which can lead to educational improvements and not in the least to excellent possibilities for young ambitious students to let their professional identity reach full maturity. 

KPZ invests in connections and relationships, a good example is the PABOYS project. An initiative to engage more male students in primary education and to offer them a platform on which to make themselves heard and to meet each other within KPZ. Another example is the Theole foundation which was established by KPZ out of a sense of social responsibility. KPZ lecturers train teachers in Nepal, who then at their own school are able to support  fellow teachers. With these initiatives KPZ directly contributes to the improvement of educational quality, school development and their own change capacity.


In the teacher training college’s various courses and training the development of the professional identity is central. Crucial thereby are the domains ‘having an eye for a child’, ‘research, design and development’ and professional skills’ which are offered in seven learning lines/trajectories. Learning trajectories are among other things based on ‘reflection and research’ and ‘GEE’ (giving meaning, ethics and aesthetics), but also on  the generic basic knowledge and the primary school subjects.

KPZ also makes clear choices within the study programme and looks for connection and balance. This finds among other things expression in the course programme, which consists of a founding and a profiling phase in which students choose between the profiles of Arts, Civics, Concepts or Science. Students are encouraged to develop themselves through research and experience into exceptional teachers. Therefore KPZ offers students several options; from practical training abroad and courses at renowned institutes to complementary programmes for example in the field of innovative educational concepts, science and technology, art and culture and movement education. Talented students capable of handling more extra-curricular subject matter beside their bachelor programme are offered the possibility to follow a pre-master course in educational sciences. Graduate KPZ students have a thorough professional knowledge, a heart for education and towards children an inquisitive attitude and the ability to shape tomorrow’s education. 


To have an eye for children

To develop professional identity

To develop professional knowledge

To do research, planning and developing 


It is impossible to imagine higher education without practice oriented research. Through this, developments in subjects and occupational practice are stimulated. The KPZ research centre with its team of professors and knowledge circles plays an important role in acquiring, incorporating and distributing knowledge to a wide group of interested people, such as students, teachers, researchers and partner schools in our own country and abroad. Through the careful choice of research themes KPZ contributes to meaningful knowledge development. Through the ambition of KPZ to constantly improve education and to exchange knowledge and opinions, KPZ maintains intensive contacts with the authorities, schools, universities and centers of knowledge at home and abroad.



We at KPZ think in terms of lifelong learning.

After getting their bachelor degree students are qualified to start their journey as a teacher. Within the Centre for Development they are offered the possibility to develop further and to specialize at a masters level. However, not only students but also graduates who apply via the International Office are allowed one (extra) year of practical training abroad subsidized by the Erasmus+ programme.

The international minor study program

Teacher Training Colleges must prepare teachers for their role in a globalised society. The impact of globalization on education is enormous. The teacher plays an important role in spreading knowledge concerning culture, languages, cultural heritage and European citizenship. In this perspective KPZ offers an international programme of 30 ECTS for students from our partner institutes within the EU (spring semester). All courses are in English (level B2)  and focusses on reform pedagogics, Dutch culture and society, teaching practice and action research.  All student-teachers in the second half of their studies are welcome. See  http://www.kpz.nl/index.php?page=briefintroduction 

In summary:

  • KPZ has a personal approach where everyone is welcomed and challenged to succeed;

  • KPZ is an exceptional teacher training college;

  • KPZ has great ambition and is constantly developing:

  • KPZ is committed to connecting with other likeminded professionals.


CATHOLIC  PABO  ZWOLLE (university of applied science, teacher training college)


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