PhD Research: A Responsive Curriculum for Teacher Education

Economic, social and environmental challenges are placing new demands on teachers and teacher education. Teachers are required to develop competencies that enables them to cope with changes in society. Consequently, curriculum designers in teacher education are challenged to design curricula that react to, and anticipate changes and make the curriculum more dynamic, flexible or responsive. In vocational education literature, a curriculum is considered as responsive when it is adaptive to a variety of contexts in occupational practice and takes individual differences and needs of students into account. Although there is some knowledge on responsiveness in secondary vocational education this knowledge is rather limited in higher education. Therefore, the research question of this PhD research is: How can a responsive curriculum for teacher education be designed?


Because there is a lack of knowledge on how to design, develop and evaluate responsive curricula in teacher education, this study focuses on the design perspective. Subsequently, the scientific contribution is design knowledge on responsive curricula that can be used inside and outside HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.


Besides curriculum design knowledge in general, the outcomes of this PhD research can be used to redesign teacher education curricula. Therefore, Archimedes Institute (14 teacher education programs) and its partnership schools, participate in this research. To validate the results also other teacher education institutes are involved in the study.


01 February 2020 - 31 January 2024


The overall PhD study follows a model of design based research in education including three design steps: 1) analysis/exploration, 2) design/construction, and 3) evaluation/reflection. The longitudinal study is carried out in a cluster of five science teacher education programs. Furthermore, three interview studies are conducted to  increase quality and transfer.

HU researchers involved in the research

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Rieke van Bemmel | PhD-candidate | research group vocational education

Rieke van Bemmel

  • PhD candidate
  • Research group: Vocational Education