Bootcamp for PhD’s: 'Don't throw them in the deep end'

| Rense Kuipers

The UT will start a course for PhDs next month, to teach them the basic principles of teaching. The course ‘Bootcamp taste of teaching’ is an initiative of Centre of Expertise in Learning and Teaching, the Twente Graduate School and the Centre for Training and Development.

Last year, the theme sparked a national discussion, after a research that stated that no less than 35 percent of the respondents gave a class whilst being unprepared. The Twente Graduate School also started offering more courses for PhD-candidates.

Real educational issues

‘All of this stimulated us to work on this course,’ says Marije Hahnen-Florijn, coordinator of teacher professionalization. ‘Even though it’s just the basics, the movement behind it is much bigger.’

The course will take three days – followed by a reflection moment several months later. In between, participants will get some ‘homework’. Hahnen-Florijn explains: ‘We’ll be working on real educational issues. You don’t want to throw PhDs in the deep end, so to speak. Just after they start, they have a small age gap with their students and have minimal knowledge about teaching.’

Flexible UTQ experiment

It is noteworthy that – as an experiment – participating PhD’s get the opportunity to get a ‘head start’ for a part of a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ). Also outside this university, colleague coordinators of Hahnen-Florijn follow this particular experiment with interest, she says. ‘As a PhD candidate, you will be judged the same as a real UTQ teacher. If you do well, you can cash in your progress, when you enroll in a complete UTQ track.’

Hahnen-Florijn thinks there’s really no way around a more flexible UTQ. ‘We notice more and more that people are asking for it. PhDs are usually the majority in a large part of the UTQ courses we offer; they simple feel the necessity. There’s no way to wriggle yourself out of experimenting with a flexible UTQ.’

The course Bootcamp taste of teaching’ starts on the 15th of May. 21 PhD candidates have already enrolled.