Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Subject-specific building blocks keep teaching interesting

Teachers have to find a balance between routine and renewal of their teaching repertoire. Eveline de Boer (PhD student at ICLON) investigated how didactic building blocks can help them with this. Defence on June 15.

Not just routine

Teaching is a complex profession, teachers make many decisions, for example about what they teach, how they are going to teach it and how they can adapt their lessons to the needs of students. This requires a continuous development of new knowledge and skills to develop expertise in all facets of teaching.

Because Eveline de Boer has been teaching for a long time, she knows that it is important not only to teach routinely, but also to innovate parts of the lessons and expand your teaching repertoire. This way teaching remains interesting for the teacher

Dissertation Towards an ecological approach to teacher professional development
Dissertation Towards an ecological approach to teacher professional development

Finding a balance

Teachers' professional development begins during teacher training and must be continued throughout their career. It is important that a good balance is struck between routine formation and educational innovations. Teachers can use an Ecological Professional Development Model to find this balance between the development of routines and step-by-step renewal of the educational repertoire.

The term ecology is related to the context or setting in which the teacher is located, i.e. classroom ecology. The Ecological Professional Development Model therefore takes into account this classroom ecology in which teachers find themselves during professional development.

Ecological Professional Development Model

The Ecological Professional Development Model consists of the following components:

  • Goal System
  • Resolutions
  • Practice
  • Success Experiences
  • Building blocks

The teacher-developed goal system is considered the starting point when supporting teachers to direct their own ecological professional development route. A goal system shows what teachers are already doing and why they consider this important. Reflection on experiences can lead to adjustments in educational practice and/or further development of the goal system.

Based on the goal system, a teacher formulates resolutions to expand the teaching repertoire to better achieve goals that are considered valuable. Subsequently, a teacher can design education with which the set resolutions can be realized in practice. Building blocks play an important role in lesson design. Designing a teaching-learning process is primarily seen as redesigning through recombination and adaptation of existing building blocks.

The designed teaching-learning process is then implemented. Finally, teachers reflect on success experiences in which teachers build on what they want and are able to do. The core of the Ecological Professional Development Model consists of subject -specific building blocks with which lessons can be given shape.

The components and the building blocks described above together form a reflection cycle. By going through this reflection cycle, teachers are given the opportunity to direct their own didactic ecological professional development route step by step, building on what they already want and are able to do. This can enable them to strike a good balance between developing routines and renewing or expanding the teaching repertoire.

Subject-specific building blocks

The aim of my research project was to further develop and empirically test this Ecological Professional Development Model in the context of the development of didactic expertise in biology teachers-in-training. This dissertation focuses on didactic building blocks, which, among other things, offer help with the content of the lesson and the teaching-learning process.

The most important finding is that teachers continue to increase their teacher agency. This development of agency can be supported by providing building blocks. If you provide preservice teachers with building blocks, they will use more different building blocks during their lessons and also vary more with these building blocks, keeping in mind what the class needs.


This website uses cookies.  More information.