Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Using a practical teaching model by beginning teachers learning to design lessons.

Beginning teachers often experience difficulties making activating lessons. This study investigates how and if the practical teaching model can offer them a hand in learning to design lessons.

2014 - 2018
Eveline de Boer


  • Eveline de Boer MSc - PhD candidate
  • prof.dr. J.H. van Driel (Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne) - supervisor
  • dr.ir. F.J.J.M. Janssen - co-supervisor

Project description

Social relevance

The research is aimed at supporting the design process by student teachers. It differs from existing models because practicality is taken into account during the development of the model. It has resulted in a new form of design support in which familiar components of lessons, like content and objectives have to be filled in with useful building blocks. Thus, this model can also make an important contribution towards a central objective in teacher education, namely learning to design lessons

Scientific relevance

The model used during this study has never been used before by beginning teachers. It delivers fast and efficient heuristics, especially for beginning teachers by using building blocks for all components of lessons, with which many different classes can be designed.


This study investigates whether the practical teaching model (Janssen, Veldman & Tartwijk, 2008; Janssen, Hullu & Tichelaar, 2009), can help beginning teachers in designing lessons. We examine the various components of a lesson as goals, content, methods and control. Innovative is that all components have been developed for choices with the character of building blocks, which looks a lot at the famous Lego. Combining these different building blocks leads to a great variety of lessons .

The research question asked here is: To what extent and under what conditions is the practical teaching model practically useful  and effective for student biology teachers?


In this project, three components of the model are validated separately; at last the model will  be tested as a whole.

In the first study, the control part of the model is evaluated. To do this, questions are worked out in a so-called attribution support tool to help student teachers  reflect on given lessons.  This can ascertain successful experiences and problems and how they can be improved in subsequent lessons.

The second study looks at the use of the perspectives, the part of the model which focuses on the manner in which the content of the lesson is determined.

The third study focuses on a part of the educational process of the model. It offers student teachers a heuristic for designing activating lessons by turning parts of the existing educational process into activating lessons.

After the three components of the model are validated separately, the last study evaluates the use of the model as a whole. The practical teaching model is therefore implemented in a digital design tool. We will see whether student teachers design faster and more activating lessons when they use the model instead of student teachers who do not use this tool.


  • Janssen, F.J.J.M., Veldman, I. & Tartwijk, J. van (2008). Modelgestuurd leren van je succes. Praktisch uitgewerkt voor de biologiedidactiek. Tijdschrift voor Lerarenopleiders, 29(2), 4-13.
  • Janssen, F.J.J.M. , Hullu, de A. E., Tigelaar, D.E.H. (2009). Using a domain-specific model to improve student teachers’ reflections on positive teaching experiences. Action in Teacher Education, 31,  120-135.

Foto: John Birdsall / John Birdsall Education / John Birdsall Social Issues Photo Library / Press Association Images / Universal Images Group

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