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Klaas van Veen: what can you do as a lecturer to improve your own lectures?

What can you do as a lecturer to improve your own lectures?

The feedback that you receive as a lecturer on your own lectures often consists of random responses from a few students, non-verbal signals, the results of the exam and the course unit evaluations. This rarely provides a complete picture of how the students understood the content and how they learned during the lectures.

Klaas van Veen
Photo: Mariska de Groot

An alternative way to gain more insight into the outcomes of lectures is the Lesson Study method. Together with two or three colleagues, you design a lecture and estimate in advance which part of the content will be difficult for students. While you give the lecture yourself, the other colleagues observe the students and look at how they work and learn during the lecture. This is then discussed, and based on that, a following lecture is designed, given and monitored. This way of working has been found to provide a good understanding of the effects of your own way of teaching. Its power lies in observation, which you as a teacher hardly ever have time for.

However, you need to bear the following in mind. Lesson Study regards teaching as a way to organize and guide your students’ learning. Do not assume that it is the lecturer’s responsibility to provide and explain the content, and that it is up to the students what they learn from it. It is quite the other way around. What the students learn is in fact largely determined by how you teach and organize their learning. It is only if you adopt this approach that you will benefit from using Lesson Study to investigate student learning.

prof. dr. K. (Klaas) van Veen
First name
Since 2013 I am professor in Educational Studies at the teacher education institute of this university. Since September 2022 I am also for 0.8 fte administrator of the VCOG, a foundation of 12 primary schools in the city of Groningen.
Last modified:29 November 2019 3.02 p.m.
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