Teaching training at UM
Since 2018, third-year bachelor’s students have been able to obtain their teaching qualification through Maastricht University’s Education Minor. A comparable programme—the Education Module—is now open to bachelor’s and master’s graduates. “You learn all the skills you need to become a teacher in just one year. Leaving UM with an extra qualification is a great opportunity for our students,” says Juanita Vernooy, coordinator of the Education Minor and Module.
Nina Krommedijk (21), a student of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, has always known she wanted to teach. She made a conscious choice for the Education Minor during the third year of her bachelor’s degree. “After high school I did a test to see what study programme I should do, and it said I’d make a good maths teacher. But I was advised to choose something more challenging. After all, there are various routes afterwards to obtain a teaching qualification. The Education Minor is ideal for this, because it takes just one year. Since last September, I’ve been teaching a class of second-year high-school students for my internship. I’m their only maths teacher for the entire school year, so we really build up a bond. Initially, they dreaded the subject and didn’t see what use it could be. I always try to show them why we do what we’re doing. Many of the pupils are really enthusiastic and happy when I give them a good mark. I get a lot of satisfaction and pleasure from teaching, it’s something I definitely want to keep doing.”
The Education Minor and Module at UM are different to those at other Dutch universities. “Elsewhere, both courses take only six months and the students spend two days a week doing an internship at a school,” Vernooy says. “That’s a struggle in terms of time and energy. And they’re sent in to teach immediately, which is intense. We spread the internship over the entire year, so we start at the end of August and let the students teach for a full school year. That’s better for everyone involved.”
Education Minor and Module
In 2018, UM launched the Education Minor in collaboration with Fontys Teacher Training in Sittard and Tilburg. The minor is currently offered to bachelor’s students of Biomedical Sciences, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, Econometrics & Operations Research, Fiscal Economics, Health Sciences and the Maastricht Science Programme.
Last year, the Education Module was introduced for bachelor’s, master’s and PhD graduates as well as UM staff. Both the Education Minor and Module lead to a limited grade-two teaching qualification in one year.
Juanita Vernooy, Niels Delahaye and Nina Krommedijk
PBL sparks interest in teaching
The Education Module is the result of an experiment by the education ministry to encourage university graduates to go into secondary teaching. Vernooy: “The Education Module is open not only to bachelor’s graduates, but also to master’s and PhD graduates as well as UM staff. It’s aimed at people who don’t want to spend several more years on their studies.” Niels Delahaije (27) obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from UM and, after graduating, decided to follow the Education Module. “I’d done a lot of tutoring during high school, but it never occurred to me to become a teacher. In Problem-Based Learning at UM, you discuss cases and explain the solutions you’ve found, and I enjoyed that so much that I realised teaching is right up my alley. When I heard about the Education Module, I jumped at the chance.
“For the internship, I’ve been teaching biology to third- and fourth-year pupils in a vocational high school [VMBO-T] for almost a whole school year. Trying to motivate and interest this group in the subject is a great challenge. If you want to learn classroom management, this is the best place. I’m hoping the school will give me a job next year and I can combine that with a master’s degree to obtain my grade-one teaching qualification.” Delahaije’s plan will be made even easier by the partnership UM has recently entered into with Radboud University Nijmegen[A1] , Vernooy says. “There’ll be an airlift between Nijmegen and Maastricht, and during the programme at Radboud our students will easily be able to do an internship here in Limburg.”
Skills for life
Nina Krommedijk will spend the next two years doing a master’s degree in Data Science. “But I’ll keep on teaching alongside or after my master’s—maybe not full-time, but perhaps fifty-fifty.” Many students from the Education Minor teach while doing their master’s, Vernooy says. She expects it to become more common for university graduates to teach for a few days alongside their job. Whatever happens, Delahaije and Krommedijk are enthusiastic about the programme. “Don’t hesitate, just do it!” Delahaije says. “You get to do a four-year vocational study programme in one year. And you learn much more than just how to teach. You gain experience in dealing with colleagues, follow training courses offered by the school on holding career talks with pupils and other skills. What you learn will benefit you throughout your career, whether or not you go into teaching.” Krommedijk agrees. “When I started out, I had a very tight schedule. I’d underestimated what it means to stand in front of thirty pupils. You find yourself in unexpected situations, everyone wants something different from you. Here I learn skills that I can’t acquire from any other study programme. I’m always proud to say that I teach—everyone’s always impressed by that. For me this is the ideal combination: an academic challenge in addition to the practical experience of teaching.”