The countdown for this year's Roosevelt/Harvard seminar on excellent teaching has begun. Next week, senior teachers from Dutch universities will gather in Middelburg for a 4 day training given by didactic experts from Harvard's Derek Bok Center.
ScienceGuide had the chance to talk to Deirdre Klein Bog, Head of Studies and Curriculum Manager at the Amsterdam University College (AUC). Klein Bog participated in last year's workshop and explains how Harvard's micro-teaching technique found its way into the AUC.
What was the key thing that you learnt in last year's workshop on excellent teaching?
A key concept which emerged from the workshop was the importance of taking the time to set up a 'community' with the students in your course. Often teachers proceed immediately to the content of the course but it is essential to take the time to discuss the course manual, make sure the learning objectives are clear and to lay out the ground rules for the course.
How did this change the way you think about teaching students? Are you doing anything differently now?
The importance of feedback was also emphasized, not only feedback from the teacher to the student, but the importance of the feedback from the student to the teacher. A number of our teachers are now actively using this technique in their courses.
Did you manage to bring this insight to the AUC? E.g. did you discuss what you learnt with other lecturers there?
At AUC we held our own seminar at the beginning of this year with Prof. Rene Diekstra, in order to spread this good practice among our own teachers. We are also incorporating micro-teaching into our Faculty Development Programme. This is where a teacher gives a short sample lecture to a group of his peers and receives constructive feedback on their classroom technique.
What did you miss that wasn't talked about at the workshop?
I think it is important to make a distinction between the different kinds of higher education - professional universities, traditional universities and university colleges all have different contexts for their teaching. However good teaching is good teaching and most important aspects were covered.
As a workshop alumni, do you have any tip for the upcoming participants how they can get the most of this year's program?
Participate fully - in the micro-teaching, in the role-play sessions, in the discussions and make sure your specific questions are addressed. There is a lot of expertise available so make full use of it.
The next International Summit on the Teaching Profession will take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. What is your main message to the world regarding what excellent teaching looks like?
Excellent teachers are engaged with their students and are sensitive to their feedback and experiences.
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