Congratulations Steffi Knorn!
Steffi is an associate senior lecturer at the department of Engineering Sciences at Uppsala University and theaches Signals and systems as well as Signals and embedded systems. She studied systems and engineering and technical cybernetics in Magdeburg, Germany. She got her PhD from the National University of Ireland Maynooth. Her research interest include scalability of dynamic systems, control theory and application, stability and analysis of two-dimensional systems and port-Hamiltonian systems.
How do you feel about winning the student unions pedagogical award?
Very suprised, and still very happy about it. Most of all I feel very honoured to get the award because I'm still young, and when it comes to teaching I only have a couple of years of experience so I feel very honoured to get this award so early in my carrer.
How important is the pedagogical developement among teachers for the university?
I think it is very important, for different reasons. The first reason I think for the teachers is that they should have an interest that the students learn. Knowing what works better and using the results and findings from research on how the brain works and how people learn and so on, can only help us. So we should definately take advantage of this knowledge, which means that we would have to adapt our teaching according to it of course. This will help the students to hopefully learn better in general, which can only be in the interest of the teacher because at the end of the day the teacher is happy when the students learn something. That's the reason that we teach, most of us feel very much joy when we see that people learn and understand something.
The other reason is that I think it's important that, not only for the individual students and courses, but for the university as a whole to show that we care about teaching and that we care about having good teaching so that it's something that the university can be proud of. And then from a personal perspective, I think it's just so much more fun to do good teaching as a teacher as well. I think it's fun to do better and new things, not only because the students like it but also because for us it's something different and that maybe works better and is more fun for us too.
Do you think students can contribute to the pedagogical developement?
Absolutely! They can't change a teacher of course, but they can help the teacher adapt if the teacher is in doubt. What for example helps is that students are open so that if someone tries something new or tries to change something for the better, that they are open and gives the teacher a chance, that's something they can definately do. Another thing they can do is obvioulsy to give constructive feedback, so if they realised that there are certain ways that they learn really well or what works better or worse for them, it's good that they let the teacher know. And many of us, I think all teachers at the university takes this in to consideration and reads it, and if we get constructive feedback of course we try to adapt accordingly.
What do you think makes you a good teacher?
Again it's a mix of many things. One thing is that I think we are all researchers, and I think that a good attitude for a researcher that also teaches is to take into consideration the research in the area of pedagogy and learning and how the brain developes. And when you take this into consideration you will se that very often we need to adapt our teaching. That goes hand in hand with having a bit of courage and having the guts to try out new things even though you don't know if it's going to work. The third thing I think is that you have to be yourself, everybody is different and everybody teaches different and I think the main thing is that you find something that suits yourself as a teacher and hopefully also your student, it has to be a compromize. And all this is so much easier if you actually like teaching, so that is very important.