23 June 2017 from 18:00 to 19:15

PhD thesis defence Hanneke Tuithof on pedagogical content knowledge of Dutch history teachers

© iStockphoto.com/BraunS

On 23 June Hanneke Tuithof (Cultural History) will defend her PhD thesis on pedagogical content knowledge of Dutch history teachers in the context of a curriculum innovation. Her research showed that the curriculum innovation has led to added stress instead of knowledge development for many teachers.

Curriculum innovation

Since 2007 Dutch history teachers are working with a new examination programme in secondary education. Previously teachers were working with well-defined themes, while the new programme is described globally with a reference framework of ten periods that encompasses the entire history. Teachers now have to fill in the characteristic aspects of these periods by choosing historical events, persons and developments themselves. Evaluations showed that this is difficult for the history teachers. Dutch history teachers had to adapt their didactical knowledge to teach this new programme to their students.

Drs. Hanneke Tuithof
Drs. Hanneke Tuithof

Pedagogical Content Knowledge

To relate the content knowledge of teachers to teaching practice, Tuithof uses the concept of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) that was proposed by Lee Shulman in 1986. PCK is described as the knowledge of, reasoning behind, and planning for teaching a particular topic in a particular way for a particular purpose to particular students for enhanced student outcomes. The understanding of teachers' PCK is largely based on research in the domain of science and mathematics teaching, with her research Tuithof expands PCK research to the domain of history teaching.

PCK of history teachers

She analyses the PCK of history teachers in the context of the curriculum innovation. She concluded that the extent to which the original goals and beliefs (teaching orientation) of the teachers matches the goals of the curriculum innovation, appears to determine their attitude towards the curriculum innovation and their PCK. Teachers’ PCK changes over the years and becomes even less varied in some cases. In those cases, a curriculum innovation leads to added stress instead of knowledge development.

Teaching orientation and further research

The role of teaching orientation seems important. Based on the literature and her findings, teaching orientation seems to be a context and content specific PCK element that gives direction to the other PCK elements. It is a construct that could include a large variety of goals and beliefs. Finally, Tuithof wants to advocate the use of the concept PCK in research on subject-related teaching and she wishes for more descriptions of concrete PCK. This eventually could inform us which parts of PCK are more general and which parts are domain or topic specific.

Start date and time
23 June 2017 18:00
End date and time
23 June 2017 19:15
PhD candidate
Hanneke Tuithof
The characteristics of Dutch experienced history teachers' PCK in the context of a curriculum innovation
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. Leen DorsmanProf. Jan van Tartwijk
Dr Larike Bronkhorst
Entrance fee