Research Tilburg School of Economics and Management

Henri van den Hout

Academic Director of the TiSEM Teacher Training programs
(Teacher Training programs for General Economics and Management & Organization).

"We have a great deal of expertise at TiSEM, and I feel it is important to share this expertise with the teachers."

Can you tell us a little bit more about what it is you do?

I am Academic Director of the Teacher Training programs for General Economics and Management & Organization. The teacher training programs are post-Master’s programs in which students can obtain a teaching qualification that allows them to teach Economics or Business Economics at all secondary and tertiary levels of education. I am responsible for the program, I teach the teaching methods course, and I asses the students’ on-the-job training and their learning research. In the program, we work together with Ons Middelbaar Onderwijs (lit.: ‘Our Secondary Education’), the overarching body of 34 schools offering secondary education in the province of North Brabant.

How did you end up in teacher training?

I studied Economics myself at this university. I got my Master’s in 1983, and it was very difficult to get a job at the time. I took over a few lessons from a friend of mine who was teaching in secondary education. I liked it so much that I have stayed on in education ever since, although I did switch from teaching to teacher training. I have never regretted taking this path.
Why is it important for TiSEM to have its own teacher training programs?
There is great demand for academically trained teachers. Many of the teachers in secondary education have Master’s degrees from Universities of Applied Sciences. It turns out that it is hard for them to adequately prepare pupils in pre-university education for academic programs, because they have no personal experience with these themselves. It is necessary for schools to have a good mix of teachers with academic and applied backgrounds, and TiSEM can supply the academic teachers.
It is interesting to note that many of our students have already had careers elsewhere before they take up teacher training. Not many students start on their post-Master’s right after they have finished their Master’s.

We have a great deal of expertise at TiSEM, and I feel it is important to share this expertise with the teachers. There is also tremendous interest on the part of teachers in the field to come into contact with the university. We are hoping to get them more involved in the university, by offering them further training and refresher training, and by exchanging experiences. The first batch of teachers are coming over in April.

What is the main thing you want to get across to your students in teacher training?

For them to get the best out of their pupils. This does not mean they should only be looking for their pupils to score high grades. While some can get A’s, others cannot even manage to get a pass. You need to be aware that your job is about improving other people’s learning achievements. You need to become aware of the difficulties others may have grasping the content of the subject you teach, you need to delve into the world of adolescents, and acquire the knowledge we currently have about learning. Do not make it easy on yourself by blaming your pupils first chance you get if things are not going the way you want them to. And take your time to learn to be a teacher.

What motivates you? What drives you?

I am always looking to improve myself. Assuming I am already a good teacher, I always ask myself: how can I do better? Were there things that did not go quite as well as I had hoped? What should I pay more attention to next time? I always want my classes to be perfect, knowing that that’s impossible. Looking at myself with a critical eye, I manage to stay sharp. I am not afraid either to ask my students for feedback. It is a good thing for them to see that even teacher trainers keep on learning.
Has there been a role model for you,  anyone you consider your mentor?
I owe a lot to the work done by Jacques Costongs. As my teacher trainer, he gave me the tools I needed to look at the role of a teacher from a professional perspective. Besides that, he was a passionate and friendly man, giving you room to develop into the teacher you wanted to be and were able to be.

If you would like to know more about the teacher training programs, or to talk to Henri personally, do not hesitate to contact him: Henri van den Hout: 013 466 2416, h.a.j.p.vdnhout@tilburguniversity.edu.

See also: Expert and Expertise