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Want to enhance teacher collaboration in your school?

Slimfit

Utrecht, Netherlands
A collaborative approach to teaching that improves the dynamic of the classroom and maximizes expertise of individual staff members.
Introduction

What is Slimfit?

Marius Berendse, Founder of Slimfit Onderwijs
“Although you might have an old building with very thick walls there are opportunities to arrange your learning organisation in a completely new way!”

Marius Berendse, Founder of Slimfit Onderwijs

Traditional classrooms follow a formula of one teacher, a set number of students, uniform learning materials, walls and closed doors. Primary education tends to have one teacher, responsible for one class for a full year, being broadly competent across the curriculum rather than specialising in a chosen subject. With every teacher in the school working in this way, there can be lack of collaboration, duplicated efforts and wasted talent. In contrast, encouraging teachers to share the workload by teaching collaboratively and specialising could boost job satisfaction, expertise and learning opportunities for children.

Slimfit is a model for school development focusing on collaborative teaching. Traditional classrooms are replaced with a new model that seeks to organize learners, utilize employees and use the school building in the most effective way possible to lead to a better and more exciting education at no extra cost.

Learning is reorganized so that instead of small, one teacher classrooms it takes place in smaller or larger groups and with differing staff ratios according to the requirements for that lesson. Within this system teachers can establish small instructional groups of 10 - 15 learners. This aims to provide more attention to each individual in the group, allowing a stronger relationship and more tailored learning.  

Larger groups of 70-90 students can be taught collaboratively between teachers with different specialisms to best utilize teacher knowledge, using teaching assistants flexibly to provide more support. This flexible approach to learning can help to meet the requirements of every child in the classroom including those with special needs. A dedicated quiet room can also be used by children who benefit from silent study.

This approach makes use of expertise of in house specialists in the form of teachers and teaching assistants. Outside specialists also provide support, including trainees, volunteers and field specialists. Subjects like dance and drama are always taught by subject specialists to ensure the students receive enthusiastic and high quality learning opportunities. This can increase the quality of education, promote lifelong learning for staff and reduce individual work pressure.

The organization adopts a holistic approach to learning and wellbeing. Every learner is partnered with a mentor who becomes responsible for their learning progress throughout the school. Children begin and end the day in their mentor groups to discuss and evaluate learning opportunities that day. Every 6 weeks coaching sessions are held to fine tune the goals of the individual, monitor their learning and ensure their wellbeing.

Whilst Slimfit began in 2010 it has recently gained a lot of attention due to a debate opening up called 'Operation Education' in the Netherlands. This debate is centred on discussing new ways to approach education and this model is being discussed through media and politics as a new model for primary education. 

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Innovation Overview
TEACHERS
Target Group
-
Children/Users
1
Country
2010
Established
-
Organisation
1 456
Views
Tips for implementation
This is a whole school approach that needs co-operation of all staff members.
Connect with innovator
Marius Berendse
HundrED Review
Innovativeness

Slimfit is a model for school development focusing on collaborative teaching. Traditional classrooms are replaced with a new model that seeks to organize learners, utilize employees and use the school building in the most effective way possible to lead to a better and more exciting education at no extra cost.

Impact

It has been reported that teachers using this model are more enthusiastic. They get less working stress because they are dividing the attention needed for each child and working in a team. Teachers also get out of the isolation which many experience when they are working in a classroom alone.

Scalability

Slimfit is currently being used in nearly 200 schools throughout Holland.

Media

See this innovation in action

De Diamant Slim Fit
Aan de slag met SlimFit: 6 tips
Ieder kind blinkt ergens in uit’, zegt Joke Tillemans, directeur van basisschool Mondomijn.
SlimFit: wat en waarom

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

Map

Spread of the innovation

Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Think about the layers of school
If you have made a choice as a school to develop your model it's good to think about a number of aspects education.
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02
Implementation Routes
There are 9 routes a school could follow when restructuring learning using the Slimfit model guidance.
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