Where do you find your educational drive?
In the contents and in students. I especially have a soft spot for students who do not study philosophy. Not wanting to immediately have your question answered, but first studying the question and critically viewing common assumptions about the topic, is quite a turning point for some. It also often takes some time before students realise that many situations have an ethical side to them, or that you can ask conceptual questions which you cannot research empirically. The moment you see them have an epiphany, gives me immense satisfaction.
What educational moment has always stuck with you?
One of my first experiences in education, as an ethics work group teacher at pedagogics. I was warned that that the students would be passive and tame, and that they couldn't think for themselves. We'll see about that, I remember thinking to myself, because that warning sounded like a prejudice to me. And indeed, it proved not difficult to actively engage students. I remember lively discussions, and a beautiful Socratic conversation about autonomy. The expectations you bring along as a lecturer, and what you radiate, matters for what you'll get in return, it what I learned at that moment.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your education?
From the world and what happens in it. For example, I coordinate the multidisciplinary minor Well-Being and Society, with philosophy, psychology, and economics courses. The gross domestic product and economic growth can be seen as ways to indicate how well a country and its citizens are doing. In doing so, you assume what wellbeing is, assumptions which have drawbacks. Several governments have now decided those drawbacks are too big, and are experimenting with other policy tools, based on other beliefs of what wellbeing is. In the philosophy course, we study different classic views on wellbeing, how they play a part in policy tools and current wellbeing practices, and which benefits and drawbacks the different views have. The enlightening role philosophy can play is relevant in so many places.
What is your favourite educational approach?
All kinds of methods that push students to learn how to think better. I have students quickly prepare for group discussions, for example. It encourages students who just spill out their thoughts to take a moment to think about what they want to say and better formulate their idea, which is crucial in philosophy. At the same time, it gives students who often doubt themselves the chance to prepare their answer, so they have the courage to contribute. It improves the discussion.
What tips do you have for lecturers?
Cooperate! So many passionate lecturers work at this university; I like to let myself be inspired by my colleagues. Intervision is also a great way to look at educational practices together.