Portret van Saskia Glas
Portret van Saskia Glas

The educational passion of Saskia Glas

As a counterpart to educational burdens, we invite a Radboud lecturer each month to talk about their educational passion. This month, Saskia Glas, Assistent Professor Sociology, talks about what energises her in teaching.

Where do you find your educational drive?  

'It's actually the combination of contact with students and developing education that makes this profession so much fun. Most courses are already very good in principle, but then I like to take on the challenge to make them even more in line with my educational vision. For me, taking ownership, developing yourself and interaction is especially important in education. I like to work on a course that treats students more like passive listeners and then see how I can adjust that.'

Which moment has always stayed with you?  

'I teach a theory course and the learning material is quite abstract. That makes it difficult for students to digest. I had already tried different approaches and last year I had captured the big abstract theories in pop songs. I explained the theory using the lyrics. Sometimes students would come up to me afterwards and say, 'Oh yes, that was the theory from Justin Bieber, right?'. It helped as a kind of memory aid and I found that very funny. You try something and it works. That’s so nice to see!’

Where do you find the inspiration for your education?  

'I get inspiration from conversations with colleagues. For example, we were recently working on peer feedback in our courses. How do you go about that? How do you give students tools without steering too much? These are practical things that I like to discuss with colleagues.'

'I also like to visit the Teaching Information Point and students themselves also provide a lot of insights. I can tell from their reaction whether my approach works or not. You can find out where they get stuck and where you still have work to do. That gives me inspiration to further develop my education.'

What is your favourite educational approach?  

'I want to activate students so that they think for themselves, truly understand, get started and ideally can also criticise. In doing so, I take into account the dynamics in the group and how far these students are in their studies. In first-year courses it is a bit more scholastic and you have to help students quite a lot with understanding the texts, but in the master's they can work more independently. In the beginning you have to give students some blocks and at the end you can say: "You have got the blocks, go and build!".'

'In addition, I try to be aware of how we can make education accessible to everyone. For example, I once met a student who was visually impaired and could not read all the texts. Years later, I ran into that student again and the problems were still the same. I find that really painful. An example like this suddenly makes you aware that scanning PDFs is not a smart idea at all, because the text-to-speech software will no longer recognize it.'

Which tip do you have for lecturers?  

'A tip to other lecturers sounds so didactic, but I have benefited a lot from conversations with colleagues. Especially if they also have experience at other universities, this brings new perspectives. I would recommend that. And also the workshops that pass by in the newsletter of the Teaching and Learning Centre. I once attended a workshop about gamification. That's really one of those themes that made me think: I don't know much about this, but I want to do something with this. Then such a workshop is perfect!' 

Contact information

About person
Dr S. Glas (Saskia)