Enhancing teacher professional development in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has pursued numerous initiatives to improve the quality and attractiveness of the teaching profession, including the establishment of a teacher’s register, greater salary flexibility and more selective entry into initial teacher training. While many teachers are approaching retirement age some challenges remain. This chapter examines policies and practices to enhance teacher professionalism and further improve the career structure. It examines the teaching skills of Dutch teachers, their initial education and professional development opportunities, as well as the potential obstacles to participation. It highlights the importance of a life cycle approach to teachers ’ professional development that is underpinned by a diversified career structure, and the promotion of collaborative working and learning among other teachers and school leaders.

A life cycle approach

Building teacher professionalism is a lifelong and collective endeavour

Teacher quality is an exceptionally strong predictor of student learning (Hattie, 2008; Hanuschek and Rivkin, 2012). Quality teaching and learning needs to be nurtured throughout the professional life cycle. This starts with effective arrangements to select talented individuals; strong initial teacher training; further continuous professional development linked to school goals; and collective learning and working, starting with quality induction programmes for starting teachers (Schleicher, 2016; OECD, 2014a). This needs to be supported by a well-designed career structure that helps attract, retain and motivate teachers to give their best throughout their careers. These issues will be considered in turn.

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