eTED network and the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Educational Sciences had the pleasure of hosting a guest lecture Professional development of teacher educators – A journey by Professor Ruben Vanderlinde (Ghent University). After the lecture we had a little chat about his journey becoming a “teacher of teachers”.
“I don’t have a very traditional academic career” professor Vanderlinde says. Rather than continuing his studies after finishing his master’s at the University of Leuven, Vanderlinde worked on educational policy at the Flemish Rector’s Conference. From the policy level he moved to work as an in-service teacher trainer before returning to his first love, that is academia.
“I did my PhD on technology integration, but from a professional development perspective; how can a school support teachers in their professional development when implementing technology.” He then continued to work for the Ghent University, where teaching in a teacher education program became one of his responsibilities. Soon he realized that teaching future teachers was different than teaching other master-level courses. Vanderlinde and his colleagues in the field developed interventions to study teacher educators’ researcherly disposition. “So, I have had an interest to professional development for a long time, and when I moved towards teacher education it was really an eye-opener, that this is something totally different, you have to teach in another way.” Drawing on his experience in various fields of education, Vanderlinde is currently responsible for Ghent University’s teacher education program, which underwent a major reform two years ago. In the reform a bachelor-master-structure was implemented to upper secondary school teacher program. “So, I had to put my research focus aside because of these policy responsibilities and now with this new law with this new degree and the new program that has been implemented, I received a sabbatical from the faculty to have some time to go abroad to study again.” Unfortunately, two days into the sabbatical in March 2020 “the whole world closed, so I had my sabbatical at home”, he says. Now however, he was finally able to spend a little time abroad to work on a book project, and enjoy the beautiful Finnish nature.
Lecture slides by Ruben Vanderlinden: