Een foto van universitair docent Thomas Niederkofler in een bibliotheek.
Een foto van universitair docent Thomas Niederkofler in een bibliotheek.

The educational passion of Thomas Niederkofler

As a counterpart to 'educational burdens', each month we invite a Radboud lecturer to talk about their educational passion. This month, Thomas Niederkofler, associate professor at the department of Economics and Business Economics, tells us what energises him in teaching.

Where do you find your educational drive?

‘Positive experiences in class are a great source of motivation for me as a lecturer. When I see students actively participating, understanding complex concepts, and creating new knowledge, I get a positive feeling of accomplishment. In addition, discussing innovative pedagogical topics with colleagues, for example during the Broodje Onderwijs seminars, fosters my interest and passion further.’

Which teaching moment has always stayed with you?

‘I was very nervous when I had to give my first lecture many years ago. I was too ambitious and had too many slides and content to cover. Somehow I made it to the end but I was physically and mentally exhausted. However, just half an hour later I could feel a positive energy flow throughout my body which I generally experienced only after doing sports like running or climbing. A feeling I have never experienced with any other job.’

Where do you find the inspiration for your education?

‘Inspiration can come from various sources such as academic journals, newspaper articles, discussions with colleagues and qualitative comments in the student evaluations. I think as long as we are open for inspiration, we will find it.’

What is your favourite educational approach?

‘I do not really have one favourite approach as it really depends on things such as the class size, topic, and educational level. However, I prefer interactive lectures such as discussions, cases, collaborations, and competitions over traditional lectures. In my experience, students also like these interactions and learn more from them.’

What tips do you have for other lecturers?

‘Be brave and find your own way! Teaching is a personal and passionate endeavour. Therefore, you should constantly explore and innovate your teaching strategies so that you find the ones that work best for you and your students. I think this is especially true for less experienced teachers.’

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