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Teachers Talk

Bjorn de Koning 


Bjorn de Koning is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Education, and Child Studies (DPECS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His main area of expertise is in learning and instruction. In this interview, he reveals what has helped him the most in his teaching career and shares expert tips on keeping students engaged. Join the event “Treffpunkt LEHRE” on September 14 to hear Prof. de Koning's lecture on how to motivate and support students in their learning.

What constitutes good teaching for you?

Teaching is more than simply transmitting knowledge to students. It is about many more aspects, such as inspiring students to explore new topics, fueling their curiosity to learn about concepts, and creating an atmosphere where students feel a sense of belonging and can discuss and learn from each other. Another aspect that I greatly value in teaching is that we work toward students’ prospective professional careers. Next to teaching the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for that, working with practice partners and real-life cases is essential to be able to apply the learned knowledge and skills to practical situations.

How would you describe your teaching style?

As a student and later as a teacher, I was ‘raised’ with the approach of Problem-Based Learning (PBL). It is rooted in constructivism and places the learner at the center of learning, with the teacher facilitating the learning process. My teaching is greatly inspired by this approach. I am not a traditional teacher lecturing in front of a large group. I try to organize teaching around small group work as often as possible to promote interactions among students. They take responsibility for their learning activities, and I guide them and provide the appropriate level of support. Although challenging at times, this is what makes teaching effective and enjoyable for me. 

What has helped you the most in your teaching career?

Most of what I learned regarding teaching, I gained from discussing teaching approaches with colleagues and looking at how others teach. Simply attending a lecture from a colleague or sharing experiences on didactics used in class is very insightful and helped me develop as a teacher. Of course, the basics about teaching offered in official teaching qualification tracks have been helpful early in my teaching career. However, sharing experiences and formats that (do not) work including ideas about why this work, are at least as important, if not the essence of my development as a teacher.

What are your tips for colleagues to keep students motivated and engaged?

  • Make visible how each activity contributes to the learning goal(s); the goals of a specific teaching session and of the course in general.
  • Make sure there is room for interaction and collaboration among students, focusing on a concrete result at the end of a meeting
  • Plan time to work on applying the learned knowledge and skills to practical and real-life situations

Treffpunkt Lehre: Designing Educational Nudges findet am 14. September 2023, ab 14:00 im Clubraum LC statt.

Melden Sie sich jetzt für die Veranstaltung per E-Mail an an.