Encouraging Diversity

The following is an overview of student counseling in teacher training at the XIOS University College Limburg. First of all we make efforts to attract a diverse group of students. After we have this diversity in our classrooms we have several initiatives to keep this diversity and help the students to pass their exams and achieve their main goal of getting the bachelor degree. A lot of initiatives also have a second important aim: keeping the students motivated, increasing their self-esteem and well being during their stay at XIOS University College Limburg.

Two principles for actions:

1. Principle of acknowledged equality

We want to approach every student in the first place as a human being, in a way that they're all equal. We assume every student to have a fair chance of getting their degree, without labeling them as being, for instance, part of a target group of disadvantaged learners.

2. Principle of acknowledged differences

Even though we value each student as a person equally, we also have to acknowledge their differences. Every student has his own individual talents and needs. Therefore the support is based on these individual needs and talents, and the support may differ for each student. Inclusive approach where possible, specific approach if necessary.


Based on these two principles, we provide a support system as an inclusive approach where it's possible, with a specific approach towards the target groups where needed. This means, we generally undertake actions and interventions that reach all students, but we know disadvantaged learners will (also) benefit from them (inclusive approach). On few occasions we will have an intervention that is only for students from the target groups (specific approach), where we feel the inclusive approach is insufficient to reach these students effectively.

Attracting diversity into our teacher training programmes

Our goal is to create multicultural teams of teachers that focus on the care of all pupils. Therefore we want to increase the diversity in the teaching staff in Belgium so that it would better reflect the diversity of our society. To achieve this aim we first of all welcome the diversity and second of all try to attract this diversity into our programmes on several ways:

  1. Publish and distribute posters and brochures
  2. Co-operation with cultural organisations
  3. Co-operation with the regional promo team

Keeping the diversity

A series of interventions to retain the students and increase their study success, to encourage the students and help them to stay motivated work at three levels:

  1. Stepping in: before the start of the academic calendar (= courses)
  2. Starting the term: the start of the academic calendar
  3. Staying & achieving objectives: during the whole programme

Developing diversity skills throughout the curriculum

  1. How?
    • Experience interpersonal differences, in interaction, within the context of the institute
  2. On two levels
    • Interaction with peers (as students)
    • Interaction with pupils (as future teachers)

Lines of action

  1. Experience differences, broad observation
  2. Interpret differences in terms of:
    • their own frame of reference
    • frame of reference of others
    • and use differences as an added value
  3. Handle differences with care for all

Year 1: General didactics & developmental psychology

First contact with teaching practice, pupils, different ways to observe pupils and to interact with pupils.

  • A sensitivity and awareness

Year 2: 'Inviting to learn' & didactical atelier cross curricular work

Theory: To bring learners into a positive learning spiral.

Topics: Being connected, participation of students-parents-teachers, project work, co-operative learning, frame of reference, values and norms, intercultural education.

Practical atelier: Working in diverse groups of students on a self-chosen topic and mini-project.


Year 2: 'Custom work' & didactical atelier differentiation and evaluation

Theory: Care for students.

Topics: Different types of evaluation, ways to make differentiated learning paths, special needs education, inclusive settings, dyslexia.

Practical atelier: Constructing a good evaluation method, setting up a specific type of differentiation.

Year 3: Pupils' guidance and project 'Learning To Learn At Home'

Theory: Contextual guidance theory and specific topics (e.g. bullying, teacher-parent interaction).

Project: Each student coaches a 12 year old pupil in a disadvantaged environment in the home of the pupil to improve his study skills and raise study awareness within the pupil's family.

Year 3: Cross-curricular teaching practice

In diverse teams, students create a project week for pupils of secondary education with an emphasis on intercultural education and participation of pupils based on a theme chosen by pupils.

Concrete action points

  • Working with diversity in real life settings: experience, analyse, interpret
  • Creating room to go in depth with some contextualised stories
  • Care for everyone by the whole team

Final Goal

Multicultural teams of teachers in all schools. This is an added value for:

  • Pupils
  • Schools
  • Multicultural society
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License