'It is the group process in the programme that is so important'
The teacher training programme of The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) is a proven success formula. The concept of growing towards becoming a qualified lecturer keeps attracting new people. Jelle van Barneveld and Sanne van Veldhoven both started in 2021. They are positive about the set-up but also see a key area for improvement.
Sanne van Veldhoven taught practical classes to students as a senior practice instructor in the Skin Therapy programme. "I got excited when I could explain things. If I enjoyed that so much, why didn't I become an instructor? My colleagues then told me about the teacher training programme of THUAS. I looked into it and saw this programme as an ideal stepping stone to becoming a lecturer. Especially since you get to observe in the beginning. I learned a lot about teaching in the first year. That made me happy."
Discovery and exploring
Jelle van Barneveld became a student assistant in the HBO-ICT programme in 2020. "While working with the students, I thought - just like Sanne - how great it would be if I could become a teacher. Also in this case it was a fellow teacher who pointed me to the teacher training programme. Now we are both part of the group that started in 2021."
I have gained all the trust of my colleagues over the past two years
As trainees, Jelle and Sanne do the same as their fellow teachers: teaching, administering tests, developing education. Sanne: "After the first months of discovering and exploring, I was simply included in the teaching team. I am now fully participating in it. Normally, I like to wait-and-see. The trainee programme gave me the chance to see how it works first. That suits me. I have gained all the trust of my colleagues over the past two years."
The three-year programme is a pilot in which candidates with a bachelor's degree get the chance to work in higher education and obtain all the qualifications needed for a teaching position. For instance, they follow different modules, do the Inclusivity Pathway Training, get their Foundation Course Didactic Competence (BDB) and their Basic Examination Qualification (BKE) and do a master's degree. For personal reasons, Jelle got the BDB and BKE first, combined with teaching and the rest of the trainee programme. Now he has just started the master's in Applied Datascience at Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. Sanne has already started the master's in Evidence Based Practice in Health Care at the University of Amsterdam in September 2022.
I learned to teach much more in interaction with the students
Jelle: "Teacher-trainees starting their masters sometimes have to skip trainee meetings. They just don't have enough time for both." Sanne: "That's true. In the first year, I passed the BKE and partly the BDB. I was then able to attend many workshops and trainee sessions. In the second year, the master's was added. That's too much. As a result, I unfortunately had to skip trainee meetings. Even though the group process in the teacher trainee programme is so important. Every teacher-trainee works in a different study programme. Jelle works at HBO-ICT, I work at skin therapy. These programmes have little in common. However this is a huge source of learning. Jelle solves things differently. With your own colleagues, it's totally different. Within one study programme, you all more or less think in the same way."
The teacher-trainees discussed the study load with their supervisors. Sanne: "Including the master's, the programme now takes three years. You could reduce that to one to one and a half years if the teacher-trainees do their masters after this programme. We indicated that to the supervisors." The trainee programme has been adjusted accordingly. Trainee meetings are held less frequently at the start of the master's programme, to ensure a healthy balance between private, work and traineeship.
Over the past two years, the teacher-trainees have learnt a lot. Sanne: "I remember at the very beginning I had to prepare a lesson to give to a class. I was mostly broadcasting, as if I were giving a PowerPoint presentation. When questions came from the students, I got nervous: I had to finish my presentation! I learned to teach much more in interaction with the students. And beyond that, you learn everything that comes with being a lecturer."
Of course, as a teacher, you want to do everything right. I learned that it is not a bad thing to make mistakes
Jelle: "As a teacher, some people see you as the expert. Of course, as a teacher, you want to do everything right. I learned that it is not a bad thing to make mistakes. When I started the trainee programme, I had the idea: I'm going to teach this subject that way and the students will have to understand it. By sparring a lot with colleagues and students, I learned that everyone learns and transfers knowledge in their own way. So there are different perspectives. Now I can put those different perspectives side by side in my head and use that input to improve my own lessons."
In five years
When asked where they will be in their professional development five years from now, both answer that they will still be teachers at THUAS by then. Sanne: "At Skin Therapy, we are developing new education and we are doing research. I hope that in five years' time - besides teaching - those facets will also define my working week. I don't see myself as much of a coach. I am, however, open to student input. I now teach part-time students. They already know more in some areas than you do as a teacher. Then, together with the students, you come up with an appropriate answer to the problem at hand. That is the way of teaching that suits me."
Jelle's ambition is to empower data science education at HBO-ICT. "That's my thing. I think an ICT graduate should always know something about data science, regardless of the differentiation he or she has chosen. In five years' time, I hope we will have achieved great things with that multi-year project."
Tools for development
Neither of them has regretted that they chose the teacher training programme as a stepping stone to becoming a qualified teacher. Jelle: "If I need help with something, I can always ask someone. There is always someone willing to think along with me." Sanne thinks it is important to follow your heart above all when making such a choice. "Do what makes you happy. Within the programme, there is always room to see what makes you happy. The teacher training programme gives you many tools with which you can develop completely within your study programme."