Lecturers at HAN University

21 September 2020

Ida van Asselt is a teacher of pedagogy at HAN and researcher at the Lectorate DisabilityCarla Cornelissen is also a teacher of pedagogy at HAN and

of their students bringing it to the attentionTwo idealistic people who believe in the power of doing.

You have organized a special inclusion lecture with a scribit workshop of the Bartiméus Fund for your first-year Pedagogy students. Why and how was that?

Ida: 'At Pedagogy we started the Youth and Society Workshop last year (2019/2020 ed.). My role in this is to make connections with people with a disability, in the broad sense not just with an intellectual disability. I heard about the inclusion lecture and scribit (scribit.tv) and immediately saw an opportunity to get the students to work with inclusion in a very practical way. And the target group of people with a visual impairment was not yet part of the curriculum, so it was an excellent opportunity to introduce students to people who are visually impaired or blind.'

Carla has medium length dark hair and dark sparkling eyes that, together with her smile, give her face a friendly look.

Carla: 'I already knew scribit, so when Ida came up with that idea I was immediately enthusiastic. It was also a great success, because it was fun, educational for the students and amazing how normal you can live with a disability. Two experts by experience told about their lives with a visual impairment and the students were deeply impressed.'

Ida: 'When they were talking, you could hear a pin drop in the lecture hall. Students have really realized that it can happen to all of us. That is the power of encounters. They also did an experience activity, walking outside with a blindfold and a stick. Then they experienced how intensive and tiring that is. And how bad the traffic situation around our building actually is if you can't see anything. The students will really remember that experience.'

How did your interest in inclusion arise?

Ida: 'In pedagogy we are reviewing education. The first year of the new education has just turned. To do this, we took a good look at the professional field and looked at what new things the professional field requires of us, and then we drew up new competencies. There used to be ten, now there are six and one of those competences is that you work on inclusion, participation and promoting a pedagogical climate. 

Now that we have established that, it means that we also have to do something with it in every school year. That is why we set up the Youth and Society Workshop, to get that philosophy more into the training.'

The treaty entitles people with a disability or chronic condition to equal treatment and equal participation. The UN Handicap Convention is crystal clear about the rights of people with a disability or chronic condition. Whether it concerns accessibility, being able to go to school, suitable living, working, an adequate income, appropriate care, transport, leisure activities. The treaty obliges governments and civil society organizations to make visible and noticeable progress in all these areas. The fact is, however, that in practice these human rights cannot or can hardly be cashed in. (ieder(in).nl)

How did this movement at HAN get started? Does it have to do with political changes? With the UN Disability Convention?

Carla: 'Well, of course we have an institutional plan HAN-wide. just like all universities of applied sciences, every four years. We have a number of spearheads in this respect. One is, for example, Health, which is very focused on inclusion, and then we look at how this can be spread broadly across all academies and all study programmes. Zeitgeist, inclusion is becoming increasingly important, and at HAN we are very much focused on working in the triangle, research – practice – education and how these can support each other, and how you can also behave in a socially responsible manner as an educational institution. are included in that institutional plan. And it is nice to see that this is being implemented in many different ways, and in pedagogy we do it this way.”

Ida: “In pedagogy we also have professional fields meetings and as teachers we brainstormed with each other about what this time demands from students for new things, and this point of inclusion also emerged. And of course the UN treaty has everything to do with that, because that's how it was included in the institutional plan.'

For many other organisations, the government is not necessarily the primary motivation to put inclusion on the agenda, but does it really have a major influence on HAN?

Carla: 'Yes, there's no other way, because as an educational institution you get your money from the government and to build a good society, you can't say we won't do anything with it. I'm very happy that we just say we pick out the beautiful things that we think are worth giving shape to. And politics is really part of society. You just see which currents there are. And as a social profession you are quickly benefiting from society and the people who have to survive in it. That's part of our DNA after all.'

Is this focus on inclusion, in addition to the curriculum for students, also reflected in the organization of HAN? For example, in being an employer?

Carla: 'Yes, but we had arranged that well at HAN for a long time. The Participation Act naturally obliges large institutions to hire people with disabilities, but we already had that before then. I think HAN is quite social, it just suits us.'

Ida: 'And what you also see now is that experiential expertise is given more of a place at HAN, which of course has everything to do with this. Next year there will be training to become an expert by experience and we will receive a STERKplaats from the LFB, the interest group for people with intellectual disabilities. These STERK places are located at various universities of applied sciences where people with intellectual disabilities are trained to become experts by experience. During this training they gain a lot of work experience themselves and they help in the research. They have meetings with students and in this way the students also get to know people with intellectual disabilities and hear their stories.'

If your students follow this education, in which inclusion is on the agenda in this way, what do you hope they take with them in their work practice?

Carla: 'I think a broader view. Not a look aimed at target groups, and people with something wrong for which you have to come up with a solution, but how can things just go the way they go. Even if it's a little different. But it's okay.'

Ida: 'Yes and being open to someone else's story. Even from someone who is very different from you. And probably very much the same in a lot of ways too.'

What do you think would be needed in the Netherlands to really embed inclusion in society? What needs to change or happen for that?

Ida: 'Fortunately, more and more attention is being paid to this, but I really think that everything should be in plain language. I think everything is way too complicated in the Netherlands. I read things and then I think yes, what are you actually saying? A lot of woolliness and a lot of jargon, that really should be much easier. That helps people with an intellectual disability, but that would help a lot of people.'

Carla: 'I would like to see a little more community spirit. Take a look at someone else. A little less focused on your own well-being. I think that would really make a big difference.'

How do you get there then?

Carla: 'Yes, that's the question. I think it must be oil slicks. We started small at Pedagogy, with lectures and scribit, but we still see that many students have now opted for their free hours for describing videos and now there are maybe 10 but that will be 100.'

Ida: 'I really believe in starting small. Where possible, see opportunities and seize them and just do it. If you wait until it succeeds in society as a whole, you won't do much anymore, but start with something small, just do it.'

What do you think of scribit.pro?

Carla: 'I think scribit.pro can be very useful. We should also use it at HAN for our own Pedagogy instruction videos!'