Pascale Daran: "’Involve me and I learn’ is my teaching motto”
Interactive lecturing is a priority of TNW Teacher of The Year Pascale Daran (LST). She coordinates the bachelor's practical course in Biotechnology Basic Techniques and discusses scientific literature with master's students in the Metabolic Reprogramming course. "I like this form of education, students see that I do this from the heart. For me, a lecture is a success if the discussion is so animated that I could just disappear."
Daran takes the evaluation of the lecture series seriously. When students are filling out evaluation forms in the classroom, she stays there for feedback and takes that feedback to heart to further improve the course. "I know that students appreciate the approach, but being elected as one of the Teachers of the Year was a surprise!”, she laughs. "At Metabolic Reprogramming, the group studies a scientific paper for each meeting, and then we discuss it. After an initial evaluation, it turned out that speaking freely was extremely stressful for some students. That is why, instead of a free discussion, we have a student give a presentation each time. Others get the conversation going. In the upcoming lecture series, students are allowed to hand in topics of discussion in advance - a safety net in case they think things can go wrong.
Emphasis on education is positive
The professor things it is a good practice to prepare new employees for education. "When I started at TU Delft I had no experience with teaching, but by doing it I noticed that I really like it. I soon started with interactive forms of teaching and I later started following courses aimed at this approach. In the Metabolic Reprogramming course, I work together with PhD students. They actively participate in discussions, bring new points of view to the table and make the lecture even better. Very valuable! All in all, guiding people in their personal and scientific development is wonderful. It makes me proud when students show that they know how to read and write scientific literature and that they apply the knowledge gained from my course to their master's final project. The greatest achievement for me is when students become critical and independent scientists."
Does Daran have any advice for other teachers? "Make each lecture as interactive as possible and enjoy it. It is also important for me to be approachable and not to create an image of 'the great professor'. Only then will you have a relaxed atmosphere in which everyone can contribute and grow.
I myself am guided by these words from the Chinese philosophical tradition: 'Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’ That's my teaching motto!"