Capturing presence

Experiences of teachers and students in secondary education
1 March 2016 until 31 December 2022
Project member(s)
Dr I.E. Oosterheert (Ida) Prof. P.C. Meijer (Paulien) , dr. Leeman, Y. (Yvonne)
Project type

Presence means being focused on the here-and-now and perceiving with the whole being and all the senses. This PhD research has contributed to a conceptualisation of presence in teaching that is related to presence in learning and based on empirical research. Qualitative research shows that for teachers, presence in teaching is intentional, linked to their commitment to students. It is the experience of being simultaneously attentive and 'aware' of and responsive to learners, the teaching material and themselves. Pupils experience presence in learning as being actively engaged in lesson material and discovering themselves; this occurs incidentally in a school day. The relevance of the lesson material and the experience of being seen, recognised and engaged as a person in the lesson was crucial. The qualitative studies in context show that although presence in teaching is a breeding ground for presence in learning, the actual creation of presence depends on the interaction in the lesson and the people involved in it.

A large-scale study among secondary school teachers shows that they experience presence in teaching in just over half of their lessons. They strongly associate presence in teaching with the essence of teaching, relevant to students' engagement and broad development and relevant to their own satisfaction in teaching. To some extent, they associate it with teaching as complex. This research contributes to understanding the potential and value of that which happens in the moment of the lesson for pupils' learning, as well as for the development of their self-image, self-confidence, view of the world and learning from others and other views. It shows how teachers recognise and exploit these moments. This PhD research also shows that presence in teaching empowers teachers in their commitment to pupils.

Afbeelding van Capturing presence onderzoek


Roefs, E. C. J., Leeman, Y. A. M., Oosterheert, I. E., & Meijer, P. C. (2021). Teachers’ experiences of presence in their daily educational practice. Education Sciences, 11(2), 23. doi: 10.3390/educsci11020048

Roefs, E. C. J., Leeman, Y. A. M., Oosterheert, I. E., & Meijer, P. C. (2021). Secondary school students' experiences of presence in daily classroom practice. Cambridge Journal of Education, 51(4), 411-432. doi: 10.1080/0305764X.2020.1853678


NWO, promotiebeurs voor leraren


Hogeschool Windesheim