Student - October 25, 2017

Talking about struggles in education

Linda van der Nat

Catch up about the challenges of education, but instead of a short chat during your coffee break, try doing that while enjoying a drink. That is the idea behind the Teachers’ Lounge Café. The first discussion café will be held this Thursday.

© Sven Menschel

The Teachers’ Lounge is a platform organised for and by lecturers, and is meant to provide a space to share experiences and ideas and to inspire one-another regarding education. The platform was created last year, but has a different approach for this year, explains Carlijn Wentink, board member of the Teachers’ Lounge and lecturer and contact person education in the Public Health and Society group.

‘Last year, we had lectures and a discussion event, but nothing structured. However, the need to regularly share ideas and experiences is real. Lecturers often have packed agendas and consequently do not take the time nor space to discuss their work with each other. It doesn’t get much better that an informal chat at the coffee dispenser, while that bit of reflection can be so constructive.’

The first discussion café will treat on the digitisation wave in education. The issues you can expect to be discussed are how to shape the digitisation, how to safeguard the balance between digital and personal and finally what technical knowledge and support will be required. Fellow board member Jet Vervoort, lecturer and study adviser in the Plant Sciences group: ‘And, of course, lecturers who have already been digitally active in education will share their best practices. A great deal of knowledge is already available in Wageningen; we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.’ But whether that digital world is something we truly want is also an issue worth discussing, Wentink adds.

The idea is to have four Teachers’ Lounges per year and one additional lecture. Lecturers are free to suggest relevant subjects, such as how to keep students motivated or how to deal with their ever-increasing numbers. According to Wentink and Vervoort, this is the largest stumbling stone for lecturers. ‘It puts a lot of strain on the lecture halls, the schedule, how much a lecturer can handle’, says Wentink. Vervoort: ‘The workload is huge. It helps to be able to share that feeling, to know you are not alone in the struggle. And to subsequently reflect on it in a constructive way.’

The first Teachers’ Lounge Café will be held on Thursday 26 October, from 15:00 to 18:00, in Forum rooms 031 and 034. Additional info is available on the intranet.