Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching

Good teaching lays the foundations for the future. All schoolchildren and students should be given the opportunity to get the best out of themselves. Teachers and lecturers are a determining factor for the quality of the teaching. That is why teachers and lecturers are central to the research at the Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching (ICLON).

ICLON links teaching theory and practice. Research findings are applied in the classroom and lecture hall, and experiences from the classroom and lecture hall inform the research into and development of teaching theory.

Focus on teaching practice

The latter is given shape at ICLON through its strong foothold in the practice. The research is always conducted with or by teachers or lecturers, including dual PhD candidates who conduct research and teach.

ICLON uses this knowledge of the practice to help secondary schools and higher-education institutions develop their expertise. Municipalities (including Leiden, The Hague and Rotterdam) also consult it for advice.

From differentiation to gaming

Research at ICLON is based on the four main theoretical teaching perspectives: behavioural, cognitive, situated and ecological learning. Research projects at ICLON focus on developments relating to the themes of teachers and teaching. Examples include problem-solving teaching, the use of game elements and differentiation.


For their research into differentiation, the researchers at ICLON look at how best teachers and lecturers can take account of the different levels, needs and backgrounds of pupils. The research focuses on supporting the learning process of each student. It also looks at how a teacher or lecturer can best approach certain topics, such as the Second World War or Islam, in a culturally diverse class.

Teaching problem solving

Within research into teaching, the focus lies on such topics as teaching problem solving. This means giving pupils an assignment in which they have to find a solution to a situation that is new and surprising. They then divide into groups and investigate why something is or is not possible. With this method, pupils learn how certain concepts are connected.

A recent development in the area of teaching is the use of game elements. How can you use technology and competition in a way that children actually learn? Do games motivate them to learn? The researchers are working with game companies on games that can be used to achieve various teaching goals.

Renowned institute

ICLON’s good name means that renowned universities want to work with its researchers. This ensures that the researchers from ICLON continue to improve teaching, with a central role for the teacher, so that the teenagers of the future are given the opportunities that they deserve.

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