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WATE 2015 highly commended: Yorck Ramachers (Physics)

Yorck RamachersYorck was highly commended in 2015. He’s convinced that research-led teaching is the most effective way to keep up and enhance student enthusiasm for, and engagement with, the subject.

If you were mentoring a first-time teacher, what three bits of advice would you give?
  1. Know your audience – what can you realistically expect from the students and how far can you stretch them in your lecture before you lose them.
  2. Have a clear structure and narrative in your lecture and tell them where you are and why you do what you do.
  3. Never try to pretend; students find out one way or the other. If you don’t know, say so.
What advice/top tips would you give to more experienced teachers?

Keep up the enthusiasm; students know immediately if you are bored or tired and will react accordingly. It is counterproductive to keep on teaching the same module for too long.

What new technologies are you currently using to enhance your teaching? What are your top tips for using them?

Moodle assessment tools lend themselves easily to the task as long as their inherent limitation is respected. For student response, I find consistency of use the most important item to aim for.

What new or future teaching innovations are you looking forward to?

Additional, more flexible automated assessment tools are more or less present and simply need to be used but at some point a mixture of real and virtual lecture demonstrations would be something to look out for.

What does winning a WATE award mean to you?

A rare recognition of teaching as a professional activity.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching? What’s the best part of your job?

Observing the moment during a lecture when a concept is understood by students – the rare occasions when you see in many different eyes in real time the astonishment of actual understanding gaining traction. One on one is already good and easier to see but seeing that clicking in many faces at once is rare and delightful.

What lessons have you learned from your students?

Blagging is a no-go area, it doesn’t work. They follow you if you pick them up at the right spot and walk with them at the right pace and on a well defined path. Informality has its place and time but they do like to be taught by a recognizable professional at some point during a lecture.


Know someone like Yorck? Nominate them now for a WATE award!