RECOGNITION. Mats Isaksson, Thomas Kvist, Annica Lagström, Karin Manhem and Helle Wijk have been named the Sahlgrenska Academy’s first Excellent Teachers. Let’s visit with them as they talk about what they think is the most satisfying part of the job as a teacher – and share their advice with their academic colleagues.
Mats Isaksson, Professor, Department of Radiation Physics:
It feels really good to have received an objective evaluation of my pedagogical skills, while at the same time it encourages me for continued pedagogical development.
What do you like best about being a teacher?
Firstly to interact with students and be an integral part of their learning. Plus it provides an opportunity for continuous development of professional skills.
If you could give some good advice to other teachers – what would you suggest they do to become a better teacher?
Focus on the motivation. Place the course curriculum in context – both in relation to other courses and for life after graduation. Consider whether “learning by doing” might work in your course.
Thomas Kvist, Senior Lecturer, Department Institute of Odontology:
It is super great to receive recognition for many years of work as a teacher at various levels of my subject. It also offers encouragement to continue working further according to the models I use in my teaching in order to integrate practical skills, theoretical knowledge, and good judgment, which together form the basis for a good professional dentist.
What do you enjoy most about being a teacher?
First and foremost, it is the contact with many talented and hardworking students, which is stimulating. Additionally working together with colleagues and other teachers at the department, in dental care, and in other parts of the university.
Do you have any advice for other teachers – what can one do in order to become better?
Responsiveness and broad collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries is important. Also, to be open to absorbing the research on learning and seeking to anchor their teaching in theoretical models. But most important is probably commitment and being engaged.
Annica Lagström, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Health and Care Sciences:
What does it means for you to be named an Excellent Teacher?
An opportunity to support and highlight “instructive examples,” thus highlighting positive examples of teaching which may cause ripples within as well as outside of our institution. Within the Institute of Health and Care Sciences there is a faculty with a relatively high degree of educational expertise. Many have degrees in health care education, higher education teaching, and even nursing teacher training. Pedagogical development is something ongoing in our educational programs and I think that a pedagogical academy and closer cooperation with the PIL Unit can enrich and give influences from outside.
What makes one a good teacher?
The foundation is expertise and commitment in one’s own particular field of instruction. If one also has colleagues whom they are able to discuss didactic issues with, this is a good basis for a reflective and conscious pedagogy. There are high demands which are posed in order to be able to realize a student-centered learning, and there is an art in being able to support and challenge students in their learning when it’s over 130 students in the group.
What do you appreciate most about being a teacher?
To be able to stimulate the commitment and the desire to learn, and to have the possibility to follow the process the students go through during their university education over an extended period of time.
Do you have any good advice for other teachers?
Be the one who leads the students’ learning, collaborate with others, and dare to share your ideas with colleagues.
Karin Manhem, Professor, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine:
What does this mean for you now – to be a designated as an Excellent Teacher?
That an independent assessment of my educational efforts has been made.
What do you like the very best about being a teacher?
The opportunity to arouse interest and to encourage students to take responsibility for obtaining a deeper understanding.
What is your advice to other teachers?
Be knowledgeable in your field, be responsive, and be committed vis-à-vis your audience; give the teaching the time is requires.
Helle Wijk, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Health and Care Sciences:
To be an “Excellent Teacher” is an opportunity to work with colleagues and students to continue to develop the teaching environment so as to create the best conditions for learning.
What do you like the very best about being a teacher?
The possibility to integrate other disciplines beyond the topic of nursing, such as the improvement of knowledge in education, and as well to increase patient participation and team training in different arenas where several professionals meet and interact.
What good advice would you like to give to others in the teaching profession?
I attach great importance to the dissemination of evidence-based knowledge, both within undergraduate educational programs and advanced, graduate levels, as well as to our cooperative partners in health care and the community-at-large. This can be achieved through the establishment of academic environments in healthcare with a clear integration of research, development, and training in the clinical environment.
In connection with the University introducing the title “Excellent Teacher,” a pedagogical academy, a collegiate network, will also be established initiated by the Vice Chancellor. The Excellent Teachers will be invited to join the pedagogical academy, where those who participate will be given the financial prerequisites to participate in the network’s activities and to engage themselves in pedagogical development.
The next call for applications for the title of Excellent Teacher opens up in spring 2016. Teachers who are tenured employees of the University can apply to be reviewed for the title. The review is conducted at the applicant’s faculty, and is based on the applicant’s documented and reflected pedagogical practice and is based on university-wide assessment criteria.
TEXT OCH FOTO: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN