Looking back at the Sympodium – Studying: conducting rather than suffering

Do you sometimes ask your students how they would like to learn? We rarely talk about students’ educational views, but why? Often, this topic stands out like an elephant in the lecture hall. To make the student vision of education resonate, the Special Interest Group 'Students' Educational Vision' organised a symposium on 15 June where students took the stage and spoke.

In ten student-led workshops, the participants, a large group of lecturers and non-lecturers, learned to look at many aspects of science education from the perspective of students. The results of the day will be compiled in a booklet and presented to the new rector of our university in October. This way, the rector will start with fresh insights.

Learning points of the symposium

Taking on new roles

In the workshop 'Taking on new rules’, it emerged that 'learning is letting go'. Lecturers must give students the confidence to take control of their own learning process. The challenge for the lecturer is not to unintentionally direct learning with strictly formulated assignments or only lecturer-student feedback. It is precisely when students are allowed to be their own directors that learning occurs.

Students as future colleagues

The workshop 'Student dilemmas', among others, discussed the role of Students as Teachers and the Student Qualification in Education (StuKO), as a counterpart to the University Teaching Qualification for lecturers. It is precisely in the interaction between students as novice colleagues and lecturers that education is created that connects well with students. In doing so, working practice is instructive for both lecturers and Students as Teachers.

Emphasising the university learning community

Is studying more than just attending lectures? Yes it is! In the workshop 'Pretty critical', participants - both students and lecturers - found out that not all students feel connected to their study programme and that more and more students come to campus only for lectures. As a result, co-determination lacks the connection with their constituencies and the clout to have a say in the process of educational development. Lecturers could show new students more about what studying involves and emphasise that students are part of a university learning community.

Attention to perspectives

Above all, the symposium made it clear that lecturers and students could empathise more with each other's perspectives and pay more attention to the person behind the student and employee. It is precisely the sharing of experiences and perspective shifting, that creates a safe and inclusive learning environment and a rich learning climate. 

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