Countdown for teaching excellence

Nieuws | de redactie
11 juni 2012 | Roosevelt Academy and Harvard University launch their second workshop on teaching excellence next week. ScienceGuide talked with biology teacher and last year’s alumni Cor Zonneveld. “The secret is being humble as a teacher while constantly trying to become better at facilitating learning.”

One week from now, Roosevelt Academy (RA) will launch its secondworkshop on teaching excellence. RA invitedDr. Ellen Sarkisian and Dr. Terry Aladjem, two teaching expertsfrom Harvard’s Derek Bok Center, to guide through a 4-day learningsession. Senior instructors from Dutch university colleges anduniversities of applied sciences will be trained in innovativetechniques like microteaching, a method developed and practiced atthe Derek Bok Center and Harvard University.

New RA dean Dr. Barbara Oomen is looking forward to hosting thisevent. “I expect it to be as inspiring a course as it was lastyear, with lots of room for recent insights on what makes forstudent learning, but also for the exchange of experiences betweendedicated teachers,” she commented in her interview with ScienceGuide.

Continuous feedback in minimal amounts

Leading up to the workshop, ScienceGuide talked to Dr. CorZonneveld. Zonneveld teaches biology at the Amsterdam UniversityCollege and attended last year’s practicum. The key thing he learntabout was the importance of good communication between students andteachers.

“I know you may think that this sounds pretty obvious, but thedevil is in the details! A key question for me as a teacher is: Howdo you efficiently open communication channels? I realized that itis crucial to continuously engage with my students. This means thatI invite them to give me frequent feedback, even in minimalamounts,” Zonneveld argued.

Teachers as learning facilitators

“I do things very differently now. I ask my students forfeedback on a weekly basis, instead of waiting for them to fill insome questionnaire at the end of the course. Here at the AUC, Idiscussed this with my colleagues as well. Designing your course asa platform for open learning and communication is challenging, buta very useful approach.”

With an eye towards next year’s G20 of teaching excellence in Amsterdam,Zonneveld says that “we should really emphasize learning. Teachersare only an instrument to facilitate the learning process. Thatmeans that we really need to be humble and always look for ways toimprove. The goal is to become a better facilitator of studentlearning processes.”

This week, ScienceGuide will publish a series of articles onthe Roosevelt Academy’s workshop on teaching excellence. Follow ourreports on this event via Twitter or

To stay up-to-date with latest developments in teaching,click here.

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