Lately I have thought a lot about what is a good teacher. I think that first and foremost a good teacher is interested in the subject that they teach. They also keep track of the developments in their subject area and update their materials if need be. Seems simple, right? I think that most lecturers in the IT field are indeed into their subject, which is great. The resources on the other hand is another thing. I think that the first problem is that our classes sizes are usually quite large. The second problem is, that the teachers are strapped of time. This has lead to a long history of mass lecturing our subjects to death.
When I was a student, mass lectures were the one’s where I learned the least. I feel that during those courses, it is so easy to get by barely cracking open a book, spending lectures staring idly into the screen, with your mind somewhere else. This can lead to a lot of stress at the end of the course, frantically trying to memorize the important bits for the exam, and then blissfully forgetting them afterwards. In a mass course it is easy to slip through the cracks without the teacher noticing.
I am inspired by flipped-class approaches where students familiarize the topic beforehand on their own pace using different online tools, and the face-to-face teaching time is used to deepen the knowledge using different methods of group work. If I could, I would keep the group sizes down – perhaps not more than 30 in each class (I dare to dream). The flipped class method with different checkpoints better motivates the students to get to know the materials, and smaller group sizes would make participating in discussions a less daunting prospect even for those who shy away from attention in mass lectures. Constructionism and Problem-based learning are also something I am very interested in – Learning by doing, by solving problems and making things. While bringing the joy in succeeding in the given tasks, they also have the potential to bring the connection to working life more visible to the students during their studies.