Marjolein Dobber

Project Co-leader


Marjolein Dobber is Assistant Professor of Educational Science at the Section of Educational Sciences andLEARN! Research Institute of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She is also Scientific Director of De Activiteit (in English: The Activity), the National Centre of Developmental Education. 


I was born and raised in Den Helder, in the very Northwest of the Netherlands. I studied Education at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and graduated in 2005. In 2006, I started with my PhD research project, which was concerned with the development of social competence and collaboration within teacher education. I defended my dissertation Collaboration in Groups during Teacher Education in 2011. By that time, I also started working as a teacher and researcher at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2012, I complemented this with a position as researcher and teacher educator at De Activiteit. This is a good combination, as it enables me to connect and integrate theory and practice around Developmental Education.

Areas of expertise

Developmental Education, Teacher Professional Development, Inquiry-based Education


My research mainly focuses on investigating learning through a cultural-historical lens. My main research interest is the theoretical and empirical advancement of Developmental Education. In this line of research, I study inquiry-based education in the classroom by means of classroom observations, for example focusing on the role of the teacher in developing an inquiring culture in the classroom. I have also conducted a review study on inquiry-based education. As scientific director at De Activiteit, I am responsible for researching practices of teacher educators and teachers. My most recent research project is a collaboration between teachers, teacher educators and researchers, aimed at developing historical reasoning in Developmental Education classrooms. 

Selected publications

  • Dobber, M., Zwart, R., Tanis, M., & van Oers, B. (2017). Literature review: The role of the teacher in inquiry-based education. Educational Research Review, 22, 194-214. Doi: 10.1016/j.edurev.2017.09.002
  • Dobber, M., & van Oers, B. (2015). The role of the teacher in promoting dialogue and polylogue during inquiry activities in primary education. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 22(4), 326-341. Doi: 10.1080/10749039.2014.992545
  • van der Veen, C., Dobber, M., & van Oers, B. (2016). Implementing Dynamic Assessment of vocabulary development as a trialogical learning process: A practice of teacher support in primary education schools. Language Assessment Quarterly, 13(4), 329-340. Doi: 10.1080/15434303.2016.1235577