September 19, 2013

Preaching Teaching

Let us me write about something that makes the HVA/HES a great place to study at: its lecturers.
Having been around for a while for reasons I will share in future posts I had my fair share of lecturers at this institution and with the start of the new semester I met some new faces and reconnected with familiar ones. Although it is no secret that teachers are a crucial element to a successful and rewarding learning experience I started thinking about what it is that makes for a good teacher.


Something I noticed is that most of the teachers who's lectures I really enjoy have working experience in the same field they are teaching. Whatever their motivation they are now lecturing at this very school and most of them seem to be really enjoying their time here. What I especially appreciate is that they have real stories to tell, not something we can all read from our study books but theory that actually happened in practice. This makes for very personal and realistic lectures, something I can relate to very well.
In contrast. Some lectures are appointed to teach subjects they can relate to but have no background on. They read themselves familiar with the topic. I even experienced lecturers that perceived a topic as having a rather negative image in general and also started the class in such a way, obviously with the intention to help us understand there is also a positive side to it. If only he/she would believe it himself/herself. This class feels like basic school; passing  the subject because it is part of the curriculum, nothing less and definitely nothing more.
A business background is not necessarily a key to success as I can imagine that precisely for that same reason business(wo)men have difficulties connecting to students.

Then there is this next obvious point that we cannot always take for granted: we would like to have the feeling that a teacher and a school in general would like us to graduate!
Last year 'de Telegraaf' (a tabloidisch newspaper) published a piece** about this school, questioning the validity of our diplomas. The outcome of an independent investigation was that, yes some things could be improved with regard to management and the hierarchy in the organization but the damn diplomas are valid and no such thing as fraud was discovered.
This for sensation published piece had consequences however, the flexibility students enjoyed to more or less arrange their own programme is 'no' more and new regulations by the government which resulted in the discontinuation of most programmes have made things extra difficult. If a student has one or more subjects still open the school could in theory add extra time to a study because they will not allow the student to finish those in a following period.
LUCKILY, and this applies to my current semester in particular, most teachers will help you out and allow you to follow certain subjects when in fact the school would not allow you to do so. I arranged this whole semester thanks to their support because they understand that (for example) ,adding three semesters to a study because students can in theory not follow different period language courses in one semester ,is not exactly helping progress. That is if you show them you are committed of course.
Teachers that are here for us, because after all, it is us they are here for. This does not mean that there should not be any control from the top down, not at all, but sometimes we have valid reasons for needing that extra flexibility.

There are very few lecturers that are not concerned with a students progress but in general I think it is save to say that at the HVA/HES if you show determination lecturers are certainly willing to put extra effort in your education and pleasantly so. Here is to them!


and a follow-up piece: 


  1. Interesting piece! By the way, is Mohamed Salmon your real name? If not, why not post under your real name?

  2. Thanks! The name is linked to everything in the digital realm, I now converted my account into a blogger account which displays my official name.

  3. Nice picture of Ineke there, by the way!