1st teff Conference Recap: Navigating Change Through Continuous Professionalisation

21/03/2024 | teff Event

Looking back at our 1st teff Conference @Academie Tien in Utrecht, the Netherlands

The teff conference “Continuous Professionalisation in a Time of Constant Change”, held on March 21 and 22 at Academie Tien in Utrecht, the Netherlands, was a resounding success. Organized by our partners, the conference provided a platform for professionals in education to exchange knowledge and experiences concerning the challenges posed by continuous change in their field.

A place for insipration and exchange

Throughout the event, attendees engaged in lively discussions and shared insights, contributing to the collective understanding of how continuous professional development can effectively address the evolving demands on educators. The conference touched on various crucial topics, including the significance of lifelong learning, innovative approaches to teacher development, the integration of technology in professional development, and the implementation challenges faced by continuous professionalisation programs.

Participants had the opportunity to participate in lectures, interactive workshops, and thought-provoking discussions spanning areas such as digital literacy, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and well-being. This diverse selection of sessions provided attendees with valuable perspectives beyond their own educational contexts, enriching their understanding of global challenges and solutions.

Back to school

A highlight of the conference was the keynote address by Jan van Tartwijk on Adaptive Expertise, which stimulated further reflection and dialogue among participants, as well as a guided tour of the school grounds by Academie Tien students.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Academie Tien for hosting the event, embodying the spirit of “from practice for practice”. Their dedication to facilitating a collaborative environment for professional exchange greatly contributed to the conference's success.

Overall, the “Continuous Professionalisation in a Time of Constant Change” conference served as a catalyst for advancing the discourse on continuous professional development in education, inspiring attendees to embrace new strategies and collaborate towards creating positive change within their respective educational communities.

Welcome Words from Albert Wijnsma (Rector at Academie Tien)


Dear colleagues,

Thank you so much for being here, it's really an honour having you here. Not only at a personal level, because it makes me proud to host an event with the wide variety of expertise you represent. But it's also an honour because you represent a way of thinking, all of you represent a new way of thinking about education. In the vision of our school, the teacher is only professional, in a broad variety of different professions, that is capable of teaching our youth to deepen their personal understanding as also deepening their understanding of the world.  

In my way of viewing the craft of a teacher, is that the craft represents the same level of complexity as a doctor or lawyer or engineer.  

Thus, in a changing world, it’s needed to rethink our beliefs about teacher education, we should ask ourselves questions like; (i) what’s needed in teacher education to make the next professional step? and (ii) how can we intertwine the learning on campus (universities) and the workplace? Or, (iii) What’s needed to professionalize teacher educators? Especially the way we think about ourselves is the start of all changes, I think this means for us in the sum of all our beliefs about the educational system, that educational and societal changes should begin at teacher training institutes.  

The responsibility of being a teacher is acknowledging the fact is that we are at the frontline of societal change, this is not an easy responsibility because there is no other place were children and adults (outside their bubble) meet. The compulsary interaction between children and teachers is necessary, because in this friction real personal development lies. In societal discussions we all talk about polarization, at schools we can really make a difference in connecting knowledge and real life situations. We need to start connecting our belief system of inclusiveness with our curriculum and our children/ students. This because a school is not a neutral public space, it doesn’t mean we have to be opiniated about everything. I think it means that we should be able to see and understand all social vantage points and integrate this in our way of talking to our kids in the classroom. Education has the power and possibility and the ability to bring different perspectives into the same classroom.  

Thank you all so much that you have the courage to be a teacher, even more, a teacher educator: you all have the courage to give a whole new generation hope and knowledge, to understand themselves and the world, and for this: you need to know yourself.  

Again, I hope you have a wonderful time with each other and the people who organize this event.

Participant Student Testimonials

"As an EdSci student, one of the research topics of my interest is teacher professionalization and how it can be innovatively organized. Therefore, I enjoyed that we could attend the first teff conference on "Continuous Professionalization in a Time of Constant Change" with some EdSci students. The conference took place at Academie Tien, a school in Utrecht that is a great example of how teacher training and teacher professionalism can be organized within the school in cooperation with teacher training programs. A big contrast compared to my teacher training where the school and the teacher training school felt like two separate worlds. I enjoyed seeing that a research project at this same school, that I was involved with during my internship a couple of months ago, was shared to show how unique this school is in professionalizing their teachers. Topics that were covered during the two days of the conference that inspired me were teacher adaptive expertise of teachers, teacher resilience, and digital literacy and citizenship. Most of all, I enjoyed learning about the teff network and the idea that universities and partner schools are collaborating and exchanging knowledge and practices for future education". - Brigitte de Kok

"During the teff conference I had the opportunity to learn more about teacher professional development. The international, diverse, and inspiring people present at this conference made me think about what it means to be an educator in an ever-changing world. Furthermore, the presentations, conversations, and workshops allowed me to deepen my vision of what it means to professionally develop as an educator. The main takeaway for me is that being a resilient teacher who is happy in their profession is not something that always just happens. For some it is a process that takes conscious effort, time, and dedication. This process can very much be aided by the environment the educator is in. Furthermore, developing as an educator is something one needs to make, shape, and do yourself. Hearing and talking about how functioning as a teacher is not plastic but can change, and how that change needs time, made me reflect on my experience as a teacher. The difficulties that I faced and how I dealt with those. It made me realize how much potential I might still have to grow as an educator, and how interesting it would be to explore this potential". - Simone van der Maeden

“Getting the chance to be part of the teff community for a day allowed us to gain rich insights on current issues in teacher education. With attendees from academia, educational consultancy, teaching, and students, the conference offered a great variety of viewpoints to learn from. The workshops were engaging, fostering insightful discussions, and prompting us to consider topics from different angles. For instance, in a workshop on digital literacy and citizenship education, we explored a vision of education that combines both fields. We particularly enjoyed the international perspectives on the topic and the expertise of the lecturer.  We also very much enjoyed the hands-on experiences during the workshops. Activities such as avatar simulations addressing critical educational issues and interactive board games designed to enhance teacher resilience provided practical insights and gave us the opportunity to connect with people from the teff network”. - Ann-Kathrin and Rebecca

"Attending the teff was truly captivating, especially given my background as a teacher. It was fascinating to witness researchers tackling the challenges of keeping pace with our ever-changing society from a teaching perspective. Exploring Academie Tien, a school that embodies innovation and beauty, left me feeling inspired, envisioning its practices as potential sources of inspiration for other educational institutions. The international networking opportunities provided a platform to exchange ideas and experiences, revealing common challenges faced by teachers worldwide and emphasizing the importance of collaborative solutions. The presentations on teacher adaptive expertise were particularly enlightening, resonating with me on a personal level and highlighting its applicability across various professions. Overall, the teff conference exemplified how a collective drive to address issues in education can lead to impactful initiatives, as demonstrated by the teff organization's efforts". - Agnese Nani

See you for our 2nd teff Conference in Brussels on May 8-9, 2025!