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What makes a good lecturer?

Date:02 April 2020
Author:Sinead Walsh
Lecture @ Campus Fryslân
Lecture @ Campus Fryslân

We asked some of the students at Campus Fryslân what they think makes a look lecturer and here’s what they said...

Create a Space for Open Discussion 

A very important part of being a lecturer is creating a safe space for open discussion. This can be done in so many ways, from the way your teachers face reacts to your question to the way your peers engage in it. Space where no one’s answer is stupid. It’s happened to me many times, and probably to you too that you said something in class and the teacher gave you a strange look. Right there and then you decided that you were never going to say anything in class ever again. 

Interactive

It’s really important that the teacher gets you involved in the class. This involvement doesn’t have to be in a very significant way but should be noticeable enough to make you use your brain. During class, we often get split into smaller groups to discuss statements from or about the paper. We then mix up the teams and discuss what we came up within our original team with our new team. This really helps to show you other peoples point of view, and understand such. 

Facilitator Rather than Lecturer

It isn’t the lecturers’ job to speak at you for two hours straight. It’s their job to facilitate your learning. They’re supposed to support you along the way while you’re trying to reach your goal. They’re supposed to help you critically analyse what is going on and help you to get there on your own, not by simply telling you the answer. It’s important to facilitate learning through student engagement so that no student feels left out. 

Clear Lesson Plans 

Do you think we can’t tell when you don’t have much planned for the class? Oh, but we can. If the teacher is lost, they’ll lose us twice as quick. It is very obvious when the teacher has a clear overarching theme for the class and you can tell the class is grounded in this topic. The overarching theme should help tie everything back together at the end of the class. Having an overarching theme or idea of what they want to highlight can help to showcase the teachers’ expertise. 

Be part of the class 

Reducing the hierarchical distance between teachers and students helps to make teachers more approachable. For some classes, the desks we sit at are in a circle and sometimes the teachers even sit with us in the class. They become part of the discussion and part of the interaction that is going on between the class. Not all teachers do this of course but students really liked when teachers did this. 

Push over Pull

A teacher needs to push students to get to where they want to be rather than trying to pull them up to where the teacher already is. It’s about encouragement and mutual learning rather than “lecturing” per se. Many professors say that they don’t actually like the term lecturer because it implies that there is only one way communication going on rather than a dialogue between the class and the professor. 

Be Tom.

After asking many different masters and bachelors students what they think makes a good lecturer the most common answer I got was “just be Tom”. He is a lecturer unlike any other and in honour of his lecturer of the year nomination, this blog is dedicated to him. He believes in us more than we do and always encourages us to think differently.

About the author

Sinead Walsh
Hey there! My name is Sinead Walsh. I grew up in Ireland and I'm in the process of figuring out life as an international student in the Netherlands. Aside from an interest in politics and the environment, I am currently studying an MSc in Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Campus Fryslan.  You'll see me around the campus almost daily so don't be afraid to come up for a chat any time!