‘You don’t know what they know’

| Michaela Nesvarova

‘Unlike many other summer schools, this isn’t just a regular school in summer. It’s unique and it involves a lot more than just going to class,’ says Luuk Collou, one of the teachers at CuriousU. What does this ‘uniqueness’ mean for the teachers? How do they experience this festival of learning - and teaching?

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

‘This is my third year of teaching the Serious Gaming course at CuriousU,’ continues Collou. ‘I really enjoy it and it has been a very positive experience. As everyone will probably tell you, it’s the atmosphere that makes it stand out.’ Not only the atmosphere, though. The participants’ attitude also makes a difference. ‘I’m always surprised with the energy and enthusiasm of the students and their ability to create something really good within only one week. They are very eager and focused.’

Is teaching at CuriousU therefore a lot different from teaching a regular course? ‘It’s not so much teaching here as it is cooperating. We are mostly here to help them. We try to limit the classic lecturing as much as possible and focus on hands-on approach instead,’ answers Collou.

‘There are students with many different backgrounds here, which means you don’t know what they know. That makes it challenging to find the right language to communicate with them,’ adds Armağan Karahanoğlu, who leads the Design the Future track. ‘However, this also makes it enjoyable and productive, because it helps me understand different opinions and points of view.’

‘Teaching here is totally different,’ thinks Jochem Goldberg, the leader of the Health and Happiness course. ‘You have to take into account all the different cultures and backgrounds. You would normally know what to expect from your students, but here you don’t. On the other hand, I don’t need to change my teaching methods, because people here are very open to everything. It isn’t necessary to lower the level and make it easier on them. They are ready to learn something completely new. And I think they like it. The students are very happy.’

The students and teachers of Health and Happiness seem to have found their own happiness at CuriousU. Is that true for all courses? ‘Being here is a lot more tiring than teaching or following a normal course,’ says Karahanoğlu. ‘You only have one week and you constantly have to be dynamic, wake the students up and engage them in the topic. I imagine the students must also be getting tired, but I hope in the end they will remember it as a fun and happy week.’