Many PhD candidates feel they are not sufficiently prepared for their teaching duties, with one out of three giving lectures to students without any training at all.

PhD candidates are responsible for many of the lectures and tutorials given at the university, but they feel they are left to sink or swim when it comes to teaching. Joint research carried out by the Dutch National Students Association (ISO) and the PhD candidates Network of the Netherlands (PNN) revealed that 35 percent of the 257 PhD candidates surveyed had received no teacher training before they started teaching. Furthermore, half of those surveyed was dissatisfied with the guidance and support they subsequently received in their teaching duties.

Inadequate training

The training sessions are usually very brief, with only a few PhD candidates receiving more extensive training consisting of more than a day. Nearly 90 percent felt that the opportunity to obtain what is referred to as a Basic Teaching Qualification (BTQ) should be made available to them. In practice, only 11 percent actually participate in parts of the BTQ track or the full BTQ track.

PhD candidates spend more time teaching

The research also revealed that 70 percent of those surveyed spend more time on teaching than stipulated in their contract. They mostly enjoy teaching and feel it is important. Lacking other options, they sometimes seek out training and support on their own.

‘Obligatory didactic training’

ISO and PNN want to make it obligatory for universities to offer didactic training to PhD candidates who need it. ISO board member Simon Theeuwes hopes that the many students taught by these PhD candidates will also reap the benefits of this proposal.