Brigit Geveling has been teaching mathematics for nearly forty years, yet she is still passionate about her vocation. She enjoys the contact with her students, they are young and full of new ideas. She usually teaches new Bachelor students straight out of high school and she helps them navigate those difficult beginnings at a university. Because here it’s much harder, she says. Here we are not happy with only correct answers, we also require a full explanation.
That is the core of Geveling’s educational method. She is not interested in the answers, those are not important. It’s the steps leading to the solution that matter. Which is why she always asks her students to write down detailed explanations of their solution, a method that she believes could be applied not only in mathematics but in virtually any subject. This innovative approach was the main reason she received the Brinksma Innovation Grant two weeks ago.
This math teacher will not just hand you the right answers. She tries to make students think. She asks questions and offers hints, but the students need to feel that they came up with the solutions all by themselves. She sees it as her main task to create an environment where the students can develop themselves, so they are able to learn new material on their own in the future. Because in the end it’s the students’ own responsibility to have the right attitude toward their education.
Brigit Geveling enjoys all forms of teaching, but team based learning is most definitely her favourite. Students need to do their homework and come prepared to team based sessions, otherwise they won’t be able to fully participate. These classes are kicked off with multiple choice tests. Once the students complete the test, they are divided into groups to discuss and find the right answers. These discussions are wonderful to observe, says the teacher. It’s great to see students talking about mathematics and learning from each other.
A good teacher is not only someone truly knowledgeable on the subject, but mostly someone who truly understands the students, believes Geveling. A good teacher can imagine being in the students’ skin and the troubles they encounter. That way the teacher knows how to best help them. Helping young people is the thing that Brigit Geveling enjoys the most about her job. She can’t imagine doing anything else. As she puts it, being a teacher makes her life complete.