#14 Hendra: Teaching in higher education

How to be and become a good teacher?

Hendra Agustian is an Assistant professor at the Department of Science Education at the University of Copenhagen. He teaches teaching staff at the university how to teach and helps them improve their teaching. He also conducts research on teaching and aims to improve the learning experience of students.

What is pedagogy?

  • The prefix ‘peda’ means children but nowadays it encompasses teaching of adults as well (if we want to be very precise, we can call teaching adults: andragogy)
  • It is science of teaching & can include aspects of student well-being

What is didactics?

  • The content of teaching; i.e. the structure of a course, sequence of events

 Reflections on teaching

  • Set-up a lesson plan to help you facilitate and track your teaching development
    • This plan can also come in handy when having to provide a teaching portfolio for a job opening
  • When planning a lesson, always try to reflect: Why do I do what I do?
  • If you can, teach in tandem with a colleague to not only reflect on teaching alone but also in teams getting feedback from others

Teaching as a PhD (scope is usually a lab-course or tutorials)

  • This setting allows for and should include a lot of dialog:
    • Conversations about the subject: discussing the why of a class as early as possible
    • Formative teaching style: feedback should be given continuously along the way
  • With respect to the learning experience and success:
    • point to relevant concepts
    • encourage to reflect on mistakes
    • ask what knowledge claim can a student make from the data / the results he/she just gathered?

Lab exercises without dialog that follow a very ‘cookbook’-like structure can be frustrating and can seem meaningless in the eye of students.

Reflections on student-teacher dialogs

  • Make sure that there is safe environment
  • Dialog should encourage not expose
  • Talking to students in groups can lift pressure off individuals who are not comfortable (yet)
  • Make clear at the beginning that this is a class where all perspectives are welcome, while still maintaining your knowledge authority
  • You can try to bring the peer-review process into the class and encourage students to provide evidence when making claims: science is continuously constructed and deconstructed and there is often theories that contradict each other. This can help students understand the nature of science.
  • If the language of instruction is not the native language of students, the unwillingness or discomfort to speak can also root in language barriers – it is good to know about them and show consideration

Hendra’s research

  • To understanding of science by students in the context of lab work
  • How to teach wicked problems to students?

Wicked problems as opposed to tame problems are very hard to define and seem impose to solve because of their complex nature and the typically conflicting interests surrounding them

  • Facilitate dialog beyond the boundaries of a university: Who is affected?
  • Inclusive teaching

 Hendra’s advice to PhDs:

  • Be kind to yourself! Mind that your mental health is above everything else
  • Don’t let your PhD result in Permanent head Damage

If you would like to connect and get in contact with Hendra check out LinkedIn.

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