How to have students enjoy your lectures? let them.

On the news recently is a story of how Finland constantly improves its education system and as a result has one of the best such systems in the world.  The country has just announced that by 2020, the plans are to phase out teaching individual subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Maths) and instead teach students by ‘topics’ or broad phenomena.

But you do not have to go to the far Scandinavia to look for improvements in learning and examples of innovative teaching. I am sure you can find some outstanding teachers who are doing their best to improve the system with their hard work. At the University of Southampton such example is, in my oppinion, Dr. Clive Trueman.

Dr. Clive is an outstanding lecturer, who constantly challanges, inspires and delivers excellent teaching without causing unnecessary stress.  How does he do it?

Dr. Clive changed the SOES3017 Fisheries module and for the first time this year it operated on new rules. We knew what exam questions to expect and were told to prepare answers in the free time, while the knowledge from lectures was not directly assessed.  That did not stop students from attending the lectures, since they were excellent and very intellectually stimulating.
Dr. Clive has got lots of positive energy, great contact with the audience and kept us all engaged and interested, albeit the topics discussed were often very complex. He made us think, not just reproduce knowledge.

Instead of having a stressful exam in a form of a memory test, the idea is to prepare and do the research in our own time. We are allowed to bring a page of notes into the exam, so there is no need to memorize the name of authors who published a given paper and the dates, something I never understood the point of. Instead you can focus on learning about the compex topics, do the extensive research and prove your understanding.

So hey, good teachers exist!

About Zofia Drapella

I always seek adventures, but want them to be meaningful (usually related to science, marine biology, teaching). I so often find myself in the most amazing circumstances and incredible places with inspiring people. I genuinely consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world... I love nature, oceans, mountains, jungles. I try my best to capture what I have the privilege to see/experience and share it with others.
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