Harvard micro-teaching goes Dutch

Nieuws | de redactie
12 juni 2012 | Next week, teaching experts from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center will meet with senior teachers from Dutch universities. ScienceGuide talked to an alumni of last year’s workshop who describes how Harvard’s micro-teaching technique found its way into her Dutch university college.

The countdown for this year’s Roosevelt/Harvardseminar on excellent teaching has begun. Next week, senior teachersfrom Dutch universities will gather in Middelburg for a 4 daytraining given by didactic experts from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center.

ScienceGuide had the chance to talk to Deirdre Klein Bog, Head of Studies andCurriculum Manager at the Amsterdam University College (AUC). Klein Bogparticipated in last year’s workshop and explains how Harvard’smicro-teaching technique found its way into the AUC.

What was the key thing that you learnt in lastyear’s workshop on excellent teaching?

A key concept which emerged from the workshop was the importanceof taking the time to set up a ‘community’ with the students inyour course.  Often teachers proceed immediately to thecontent of the course but it is essential to take the time todiscuss the course manual, make sure the learning objectives areclear and to lay out the ground rules for the course.

How did this change the way you think about teachingstudents? Are you doing anything differently now?

The importance of feedback was also emphasized, not onlyfeedback from the teacher to the student, but the importance of thefeedback from the student to the teacher.  A number of ourteachers are now actively using this technique in theircourses.

Did you manage to bring this insight to the AUC?E.g. did you discuss what you learnt with other lecturersthere?

At AUC we held our own seminar at the beginning of this yearwith Prof. Rene Diekstra, in order to spread this good practiceamong our own teachers.  We are also incorporatingmicro-teaching into our Faculty Development Programme.  Thisis where a teacher gives a short sample lecture to a group of hispeers and receives constructive feedback on their classroomtechnique.

What did you miss that wasn’t talked about at theworkshop?

I think it is important to make a distinction between thedifferent kinds of higher education – professional universities,traditional universities and university colleges all have differentcontexts for their teaching.  However good teaching is goodteaching and most important aspects were covered.

As a workshop alumni, do you have any tip for theupcoming participants how they can get the most of this year’sprogram?

Participate fully – in the micro-teaching, in the role-playsessions, in the discussions and make sure your specific questionsare addressed.  There is a lot of expertise available so makefull use of it.

The next International Summit on the TeachingProfession will take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Whatis your main message to the world regarding what excellent teachinglooks like?

Excellent teachers are engaged with their students and aresensitive to their feedback and experiences.

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 www.ScienceGuide.eu.

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

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