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Physics students on list for `teaching´ prize

For a group of students at the University of Copenhagen, studying is teaching. Now they are nominated for the prestigious Harald teaching award

A team of students (class of 2008), currently in their 5th year, at the Niels Bohr Institute have been nominated for the Årets Harald, 2012. This is a unique nomination as this prize is exclusively for teachers.

‘Årets Harald’ (Harald of the Year) is the prize for teachers, given out by the University of Copenhagen every year, for inspirational and good teaching. The award entails a porcelain owl and a cash prize of DKK 25,000.

The students were shortlisted along with nine other professors and lecturers from UCPH for this award. This reflects a lot upon the students’ contributions to teaching methodologies at their institute.

See a 2008 gallery of the nominated students in the auditorium here.

Trained to be ready to study

The students’ instructor, Kim Splittorff, supports the nomination.

»It is a little strange to nominate students for a prize reserved for teachers, if you look at it from a standard old fashioned teaching perspective. But, modern teaching is more dynamic and students are very much a part of the teaching process,« he says.

The group of students was the first batch to graduate from a new system of education in Danish high schools (gymansiereform), which prepared them better for university. This system is supposed to give the students a better grasp of theory and to be more critical. It is literally a course in being ready to study.

Re-defining teaching, reforming studying

During their first year at university, the students spoke with teachers about newer, more focused ways of being taught. This led to a change in the classroom. Students are now taught in separate batches, according to their levels of performance and preparedness. Consequently improving their learning pace and ability to keep up.

Kim Splittorff is proud of his students, and says that they have re-defined what a good student and a good teacher is.

»Earlier, a good student was someone who performed well irrespective of the teaching. Now a good student is someone who can show improvement depending on how well he is taught. Therefore, good teaching is teaching that allows the possibility for students to improve themselves«.

Harald of the Year is presented at the annual Commemoration Ceremony on Friday 16 November, 2012. Other nominations can be seen on the University of Copenhagen’s intranet here (in Danish, needs log-in).

See a 2008 gallery of the nominated students in the auditorium here.

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