“EVERYTHING SHOULD BE MADE AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE, BUT NOT SIMPLER”—ALBERT EINSTEIN
Everyone should learn as much as possible during the time he or she is willing to spend on education.
I have always had strong feelings about teaching and learning. Whether I was teaching other children when I was in primary school, or teaching students at university, I always had this strong belief:
Learning should be something social, and using the intelligence of the many is usually better than using only the intelligence and creative resources of just one person. In the classroom, I like to let students brainstorm on interesting questions, which often yields fascinating discussions that let the students inspire and motivate each other.
It is important to learn that people and mentalities are very different, and you have to learn how to learn with them.
I know that it’s not very easy to do all the things at once that a good teacher needs to do. The lecture material, the student’s perspectives, and the complex group dynamics all require a great deal of attention. Especially in groups with a range of mentalities, learning types, and backgrounds, it can be hard to achieve an optimal learning outcome. This is why I like to use a scientific approach to group interactions whenever I get to work with a new group of students. This means that I form a hypothesis and do experiments in the classroom, e.g.: Hypothesis: students like analogies – Experiment: let’s explain a physics model analog to a three-course dinner to them.
Science is something cool and serious.
In the last years, I have adopted a much more practical perspective on science from my mentor Zlatko Sitar and other teaching role models. I have seen that it is very important to have a professional and convincing demeanor in order to get the support that is necessary to be successful. Especially Donald Sadoway, one of my favorite professors at MIT, has impressed me with his way of presenting solid state chemistry as something awe-inspiring and powerful. In his lectures he connects all the lecture material to real world applications and demonstrates casually how many of the solid state discoveries have revolutionized industries – I have started to implement this approach in my own lectures, which often improves student motivation and the overall understanding of a discipline.
Physics (or any other science) can be easy and pure fun. If you do it right.
This is one of my most important secrets that I want to share with as many students as possible.
I learned very early that fascination for science is key to captivating others for it. In this way, it is important to care for your individual relationship with science to enjoy talking about it. It helps to enrich your conception and focus on the things that you are confident about. I am keeping a good relationship with my science by investing enough time and playing with all the different concepts.