Rob Gertsen

Back to experts Rob Gertsen
Function: Researcher, PhD candidate
Research Group: Normative Professionalization


Telephone: (0031) 6 28 32 17 23

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Drs. Rob Gertsen (1955) is a research fellow at Research Normative Professionalization since September 2012. He is doing doctoral research at Utrecht University under the name "Understanding moral authorship of novice teachers in primary education". The study aims to understand novice primary school teachers’ moral authorship by elaborating its main characteristics and to study its appearance in novice teachers’ narratives. The operationalization of the characteristics must lead to the development of a research instrument which can be employed in the professionalization of beginning teachers.

Who am I?

Create knowledge, designing education programmes and training sessions, construct learning opportunities for students and teachers. These activities are the common thread in my teaching work for the past 41 years.

In 1976 my teaching career started at St. Joseph School in Bussum (the Netherlands), where I began as a teacher of ten-year-old kids. During the first year, I attended an evening course for a degree to team physical education. From 1977 I worked for three years as a gym teacher in primary school. Inspired by Suus Freudenthal, I developed new methods for physical education in Jenaplan-schools. In 1980 I started working in the third and fourth grade of primary school (kids of six and seven years old). I was given the special assignment to achieve integration between pre-primary and primary education. In the 16 years that followed I taught in every group of primary school. The highest grade (group 7/8) had my preference. The last five years of that period, I worked as principal of the Fatima Joseph School. As a teacher, I participated in research of dr. Leen Streefland of the Freudenthal Institute of Utrecht University and in that way I could contribute to developing the realistic mathematics curriculum. Meanwhile, I studied Pedagogy. The experience I gained in primary school resulted in working at Professional University Utrecht, teaching math and Pedagogy at Teacher Training Institute. In 1996 I stopped working at the professional University to become principal of a new school in Almere(the Catholic Primary School named Pirouette). In addition to building and furnishing the school, I developed a unique school curriculum in which three subjects played a central role: a program alternative thinking strategies (Padleerplan), a program Bodywork ( a form of yoga) and a program learning differently (planned set of learning to learning activities). An adventure that I look back on with great satisfaction.

Nevertheless, in November 1999, I returned to Utrecht University to meet a new challenge: building up after-school and professionalisation activities at Theo Thijssen Center. Principal activities during the past 18 years have been the creation of an assessment centre for side inflow, the (co) design of the competency-oriented side-inflow training. Also, I participated in the registration course of the VELON (Association for Teacher Training), and for several years as a colleague assessor in the registration of teachers, I have taken some years in the field of Registration of Teachers’ Training. In educating and professionalising teachers, awareness and influence of personal practice theories on education play an essential role. In research for my PhD in Education, which I completed at the University of Utrecht in 2008, I charted the use of narratives as a reflection tool for teachers. To support the design of new professionalisation activities, I have developed the Durable Successful Working Behavior model.

For the past 18 years, together with my team, I have developed new professionalisation programs in the field of Revenue-based Work, Gifted pupils & Differentiation, Early Languages Education in English, Science and Technology, Middle-management and Management Training, and Training Critical thinking, argue techniques and writing skills.

For the past four years, I have been able to spend three days a week on my PhD research on the moral qualities of teachers.

For an up-to-date overview of publications, see;

Normative Professionalization

Moral Dimension Of Teachers’ Professional Development

About the Research Group