In this national project from the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO), researchers from several institutes, including the Radboud Teachers Academy, are examining the future-oriented teaching profession. The team’s task is to conduct research into the professional quality of the teacher of today and tomorrow. In this project, modern teaching is seen as a system of individuals and organisations. And this is because the ideal teacher no longer exists: the professional image has given rise to diversity and versatility. Teachers, schools, teacher training programmes and policy organisations are searching for ‘preferred futures’ within this diversity and versatility and they therefore require an adaptive capacity, that is ‘the ability to relate to changes in order to make reasoned decisions at any given moment’. A future-oriented teaching profession requires adaptive capacity in all sectors of the educational field (primary, secondary and vocational education) and at all levels of the educational organisation: teachers and teaching teams (micro), schools (mezzo) and teacher training programmes and policy organisations (macro).
Using an innovative and multidisciplinary approach, the Expedition Team is exploring how all of these diverse players are navigating towards the teaching profession of tomorrow. The aim is to gain insight into what this adaptive capacity looks like and how it can be strengthened in the Dutch educational field.
One of the building blocks is Teacher Tapp NL: this is a free app for teachers from primary, secondary and vocational education, which allows them to reflect on their profession. Each day, the app asks teachers three multiple-choice questions about their experiences/opinions. The topics range from educational innovations to the day-to-day teaching practice and current issues. Examples of these are the use of social media, topics that are difficult to discuss during class, and perceived work pressure. The insightful results are made available the following day and are always accompanied by a reading or listening tip. Firstly, this allows teachers to see how other teachers feel about certain topics and compare their own thoughts, and secondly it provides them with daily resources for their own professional development.
The app is currently being used each day by more than 1,300 teachers.