“Råd og tips til deg som underviser” (Raaheim, 2013)

I love books with practical teaching tips, and this one on “advice and tips for you as a teacher” caught my eye when I was borrowing Kjersti’s desk in Bergen. And it was fun to read!

I love the conversational style and the common sense tips, for example to go visit a room before teaching in it for the first time in order to figure out what equipment is there, what difficulties might arise because of the layout, and also to just mentally put yourself in the situation to be prepared for the actual teaching. Or to consciously take on the role as “teacher” (in contrast to the one as “researcher” or “private person”). The requirements of these roles are different, and therefore we have to show different facets of who we are, or act in a specific manner.

Or the section on “bruk tavle med forstand” (which translates as “use the blackboard wisely”, except to my German ears reading Norwegian, it has the funny undertone of “you should really think and not just do!!”. I know that my best experiences using a black(or white)board are really when I thought things completely through beforehand in terms of which key words I want to write down, and what I want the layout of the whole board to be when I am finished. And when I use writing on the board as a tool for specific purposes (for example to slow things down relative to showing things in a powerpoint presentation) and not just as the default thing to do. And then — going back to being familiar with the room — making sure that everything is readable and there is no furniture blocking parts of the board, or shadows obscuring it.

Another tip is about “not saying yes to everything the students ask for”. As he writes: students don’t always know what is best for them, and we should make didactical choices as best as we can. That can, depending on context, sometimes mean handing out certain materials like solutions to exercises, and sometimes requiring students to take their own notes. And students might or might not be happy with the choices, but then again it is part of our role as teacher to deal with it professionally.

This book is a really quick and entertaining read for when you want some food for thought about practical aspects of your teaching!

Raaheim, A. (2013). Råd og tips til deg som underviser. Gyldendal akademisk.

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