Three elements of excellent teaching

Nieuws | de redactie
13 augustus 2012 | Terry Aladjem, teaching expert from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center, sketches his vision on excellent higher education. Eliciting feedback, active learning and designing courses around learning objectives are key elements.

Top teachers and teaching experts gathered in Middelburg this summer to discusswhat it takes to foster excellence in higher education learning.Terry Aladjem, Executive Director at Harvard’s Derek Bok Center,concludes in a video message what excellent teaching entailsfor him.

“At the Derek Bok Center we are particularly careful not to tryto tell anyone how to teach,” he argues. “Nevertheless, we arepersuaded by research that suggests that there are three thingsthat really contribute to excellent teaching everywhere: having agenuine interest in what goes on in the minds of young students,creating a mechanism for understanding and hearing their thoughts,eliciting feedback in other words.”

“Secondly, creating challenging tasks and assignments that callthem to the highest levels of performance. This might be thought ofas active learning and lots of research supports active learning asan effective strategy and finally more recently designing coursesdeliberately from learning objectives, from the things we want ourstudents to learn and it’s not always been naturally for faculty toask themselves what they want their students to learn and oftenit’s less natural for them to think of designing their courses inthe light of those objectives, but we find this tremendouslyeffective.”

At this point, Aladjem underlines the role the Netherlands playfor the debate on excellent teaching. “There’s so much excitementabout teaching in the Netherlands that it’s contagious.” As such,the teaching seminar in Middelburg will be a stepping stone for theupcoming G20 summit on higher education. In March 2013, toppolicymakers and experts gather in Amsterdam to discuss bestpractices in teaching and learning.

To watch the full video message, click here.

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