nl en

Community Project




Admissions requirements

There are no pre-requisites for this course, but students must submit an application in order to be considered for admission. Selection will be based on the strength of students’ applications, and with an eye toward achieving a balance in the classroom between Dutch speakers and non-Dutch speakers (as this is necessary for the volunteer teams). To apply, please complete this form and email it to Dr. Ann Marie Wilson at by 22 December, 2019. Questions about the Community Project can also be directed to Dr. Wilson at the same address.


As part of LUC’s Global Citizenship curriculum, the Community Project examines the broad question of what it means to live responsibly in a heterogeneous society beset by various forms of social inequality. Together, we engage this question in a very concrete way, right here in our own local community—using education as our lens.

As a “service-learning” course, the Community Project combines the academic study of education in a multicultural society with the hands-on experience working with pupils a local secondary school. Its core purpose is to give LUC students an opportunity to apply scholarly knowledge and theoretical concepts about education in a practical, meaningful way that serves a real community need. It is a demanding course, but it is also a rewarding one. It will get you out of the LUC bubble and into the city of The Hague. And it will prompt you to think in new ways about the relationship between schools and society, and about the lived experiences of teachers and students in the city of The Hague.

The course is particularly appropriate for students who are interested in careers in education (either as policymakers or as classroom educators) or in the wide variety of jobs related in some way to issues of diversity and migration. As the Community Project is now in its fifth year, we will look forward this semester to welcoming back alumni from the course who now work in a range of education- or migration-related settings, from secondary schools to government offices to NGOs.

Course objectives

Overall, this course will help you develop 1) content knowledge about the history and contemporary politics of education in the Netherlands, and 2) practical skills in tutoring and engaging with difference. Successful completion of the Community Project should enable students to:

  • speak in an informed way about the ways that religion, migration, class formation, and gender and sexuality have shaped both citizenship debates and education practices in the Netherlands;

  • reflect in a critical, self-aware manner upon their own beliefs related to education and citizenship, and empathetically engage with people who may hold different beliefs;

  • apply theoretical concepts about democratic education and critical pedagogy to lived experiences in secondary schools in The Hague;

  • develop a willingness and an ability to step out of their “comfort zone” in order to teach and learn from people from a wide range of backgrounds;

  • improve their written and oral argumentation skills.


The academic seminar portion of the course will take place on Tuesdays from 11:00 to 14:00. Please note the longer-than-usual timeslot, which will overlap (alas) with two timeslots for other courses.

The hands-on service portion of the course will take place in a 90-minute timeslot on Wednesday afternoons. The exact time is still to be determined with the school, but it will either last from 13:30-15:00 or from 14:30 to 16:00. There will be a tutoring session during the LUC reading week for both Blocks III and IV, so please be prepared to be present. There may also be an extra training for tutor practice on Saturday, February 15 -- so please keep this day free.

Also, please be aware that in addition to the seminar and the tutoring sessions, students in each tutor team will be expected to meet weekly in order to prepare their individual lessons.

The Community Project demands commitment, yes -- but it also rewards it!

Mode of instruction

The Community Project will help you develop your skills in teaching and working with youth. It will also provide a broad, interdisciplinary introduction to the field of education studies. It is not, however, a teacher preparation programme in the strict sense. Nor does it offer an exhaustive exploration of all aspects of education systems (although students have considerable freedom in the topics they select for their final research papers).

Instead, the Community Project focuses squarely on the challenge of education in a multicultural society. We’ll ask a lot of big questions. What is the purpose of education, anyway? If we place value on equal opportunity and social mobility—and on the “conscious social reproduction of society,” to borrow the words of one liberal theorist—how can we achieve this? How have different thinkers answered this question? And how have the histories of religion, migration, and economic inequality shaped the way education has actually been carried out in the Netherlands? How do education policies vary across different countries—and to what effect? And how can teachers serve the needs of all children—no matter their ability, native language, ethnic background, family income, gender, sexual orientation, or the educational level or national origin of their parents?

In our search for answers, we will read works of philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, and pedagogy. We will watch films and read journalism covering the topics of education, migration, and the “multiculturele samenleving.” And we will speak to practitioners in the field of education: teachers, school leaders, policy makers, teacher trainers.

But that is only the “academic” side of the course. Over the course of the semester, students will work as language tutors in a local school serving youth (aged 13-16) who have recently immigrated to the Netherlands. Some of them will have only been in the Netherlands a few weeks, and none for more than a year. The overarching purpose of the tutoring is to help the pupils develop their speaking skills in Dutch and English. In practice, however, the activities LUC students design to activate speech will also activate creativity, debate, and other tools of civic engagement.

LUC students can expect to discuss a whole range of topics with their tutees: everything from art and music, to local and world politics, to academics and career ambitions, to gender roles. They can also expect to learn as much from their tutoring experiences as they do from course readings and discussions. And, finally, they will get great experience with teamwork that has real stakes attached to it.


  • Active class participation. (15%)

  • Weekly, informal reflection papers of ~400-500 words each (submitted as a portfolio at the end of the course). (20%)

  • A short, formal essay of ~1500 words. (25%)

  • A longer, formal essay of ~3500. (40%)

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

All readings will be made available via Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Ann Marie Wilson