I have teaching experience from various institutions and different levels of study, including course responsibilities, and I have supervised bachelor’s and master’s students and PhD-candidates. In this section, I present my teaching experience, describe how my education practice has developed over time, and detail my philosophy of teaching.
In 2019, I completed all required courses and obtained basic pedagogical competence at University of Bergen’s Program for University Pedagogy, see attached certificates.
As detailed in my CV, I have since 2010 gained teaching experience from various institutions and at different levels of study. I have been responsible for a master’s levels course in organisational behaviour and management at BI Norwegian Business school in a part-time position as assistant professor. I have taught different courses in statistics, research methods, psychiatry and psychopathology for students at bachelor’s and master’s levels in a part-time position as associate professor at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen and several courses for continuing education students and clinical psychologists in their specialisation in community and general psychology (spesialisering i Samfunns- og allmennpsykologi). I have taught organizational behaviour and management at bachelor’s and master’s levels at the BI Norwegian Business School and taught at the master’s program the Western University of Applied Sciences.
Before I started as an associate professor at the Faculty of Psychology, UiB, I worked at the research institute Regional centre for child and youth mental health and child welfare (RKBU Vest) where I taught several courses in continuing education programs for employers in fields like social work, psychology and administrative management. I have also taught use of surveying instruments at various clinical institutions. I have been involved in assessment as an internal and external examiner for written exams, oral exams, master’s theses and student papers and I have developed various formative assessment methods for the courses I teach. I receive excellent evaluations of my teaching and dissemination activities1. See also the list of references for my educational competence.
I am course responsible for PROPSY315 Community psychology, at the Department of Psychosocial sciences. This course consists of four main components: 1) educational activities, 2) community psychology internship with student projects, 3) a written assignments, and 4) oral presentations at closing conference. I am responsible for the majority of the educational activities and coordinate and coach external and internal teachers in the course. I recruit most places for internship, I am examiner for written assignments, and I host and administer the closing conference.
In the time I have been course responsible I have worked on revising all course components aiming to improving student learning, grounding the changes I make in empirical knowledge and best-practice recommendations for student learning, and from student evaluations of the changes I make. I have introduced more student-active learning into what used to be lectures, and this semester I have further transformed many educational activities into online learning modules. This has provided me with an opportunity to develop and test an online learning environment for my course which has been instructive, and it allowed me to try out various forms of formative assessment tasks, and to get immediate student feedback to guide further developments in the course. I have recruited new organisations to host internships in order for students to gain more relevant skills and experience. I have also revised the instructions for examiners and students with regard to requirements for the written report. The closing conference was mainly a full-day of students presenting to each other, but is now a conference that is also attended by practising community psychologists and faculty members. The focus of the closing conference is now to allow students to meet with and present their projects to working community psychologists from different services, and for community psychologists to meet and learn about projects in other services. I receive great student evaluations on my teaching2, and evaluations have improved further with the changes I have implemented in my course (see also pre-print3).
When I started teaching in 2010, I had no pedagogical training. I focused on lecturing and on my own performance as a lecturer. This may be related to my own recent experiences as a student, imitating teaching practices that I had been exposed to myself, but in retrospect, I think more of it as a strategy of taking control of the classroom. Being in charge of the time spent with students reduced risks of being asked hard questions and potentially expose areas where I lacked, or feared that I lacked, competence. I had one teaching style — the lecture — that I kept refining and trying to make as good as I knew how to by self-studying effective communication, slide-design and visual design. I got good feedback on my lectures and I am regularly invited present at conferences, for clinical practitioners and in many other occasions, and I do think lectures have a place in a teacher’s repertoire of tools. What I think I did wrong was to apply this style of teaching in a one-size-fits-all way; whether it be for bachelor students, masters level teaching or in continuing education settings.
With more experience in the classroom, I built up confidence to give up some of the control that lectures gave me. I became less afraid of making mistakes and more flexible in my approach to teaching and this also changed my focus away from me as a lecturer to how students best learn. I started experimenting with alternatives to lecturing that included discussions, reflections, and question-and-answer-sessions. I saw the usefulness of allowing students to practice and apply theoretical concepts to their own work and experiences, making it their own knowledge, and how this increased the relevance of this knowledge to their own work.
As I gain more experience with teaching, I feel that I have become more skilled at adapting my teaching style to the prior level of competence and needs of students in order to better facilitate learning, and I recognise topics best taught through other approaches than lecturing. I have learnt the value of student feedback and actively pursue it. I approach both high- and low-performing students directly, enquiring about areas for improvement, I collaborate with the student representative in discussions about improving teaching and organisation of my courses, and I conduct formal evaluations after the course that I report and publish4, and use to gauge how my own teaching performance develops over time.
The course in teaching and learning in higher education was an eye-opener for me and accelerated my development as an educator. It was a joy to read the empirical documentation for effective student learning, to learn from best-practice, and I was inspired to continue experimenting with different forms of teaching and immediately started to revise, redesign and further develop my teaching and courses. The course in teaching and learning in higher education helped me identify areas for improvement, in particular related to 1) better aligning learning outcomes, teaching activities and assessment methods5, 2) improving the learning outcomes, making them more actionable, assessable and more closely linked to different levels of learning6, 3) better organisation and targeting of formative assessment methods7, 5) expanding my repertoire of teaching tools to better fit the learning needs of a heterogeneous student population8, and 6) learning more about assessment tools that allow me to measure when and how learning occurs.
In March 2020, the Vice-Rector for Education at the University of Bergen invited me to become member of Frontrunners, a collegial teaching program at the University and at each Faculty, facilitating online teaching and learning. We have regular meetings in the group, where we discuss approaches to online and blended learning and where we exchange ideas and experiences. I have given presentations to the Frontrunners-group of the teaching materials I have produced for my course, and my approach to evaluation and development in the course. I presented my approach to student-active learning in my courses at my Department’s Education Day (seminars on the topics of education). I also wrote a manuscript more formally investigation changes in student evaluation ratings before and after introducing more student active learning tools in my course, available as a pre-print in EdArXiv9. I have also collaborated with and coached colleagues in producing online modules for PROPSY315 and other courses that have required online or digital approaches to learning, and I am a member of The Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (TeLEd) research group at the Department of Education.
I was the main supervisor for one PhD-candidate in the project After the divorce that was successfully defended in October 2020. I am now the main supervisor for one PhD-candidate in the project Potential traumatic events and use of health services (50% position, to be completed 2025) and co-supervising one PhD-candidate in the project Internalizing problems in foster youth: Integrating research- and experience based knowledge (to be completed 2021). I have supervised 13 candidates for their Master’s theses (see CV for details). Since 2011, I have supervised more than 25 papers for students in various stages of their psychology education. From 2021, I will supervise one or two PhD-candidates and mentor one post-doctor that are being recruited into the longtrends project, and I will supervise two Master’s theses next semester.
I have developed nine digital learning modules for the University of Bergen Canvas learning management system mitt.uib.no. I developed eight modules for the course that I am responsible for, PROPSY315 Community psychology, on topics such as prevention, implementation, social health determinants and public mental health. I also developed module for MAPSYK302 Research methods, on the topic of conducting survey research. Each module includes descriptive content, brief video-lectures, assigned readings, group discussions, and a variety of problem-based learning assignments and formative assessment tasks. I am also drafting a book/tutorial-series aimed at researchers interested in learning to use the statistical software R. This book is a work in progress, but is available online10.
From my own experience with teaching, and from discussions with colleagues and reading the literature I have developed certain principles that I try to adhere to in my teaching;
1. Good teacher-student relations result in better learning. I strive to build good relations and rapport with students in courses that I teach. Good teacher-student relations improves attitudes towards studying, relates to higher motivation to study, and to better academic performance11. I communicate regularly with students using their learning management system, via email or in-person.
2. Students need to be active participants in learning, and learn relevant skills. Student-active learning tools are more effective12 and requested by students in course evaluations. I design problem-based-learning tasks, giving students practical experience with solving problems that they will need to master in their roles as practising psychologists13.
3. Teaching must have room for discussion, conversation and reflection. Students need to practice and apply theoretical concepts to their work and experiences, translating it into actionable knowledge14. I facilitate discussions, conversations and reflection, to give students practice and experience with applying newly acquired skills and increase the relevance of this knowledge to their own work.
4. Students need timely feedback to improve their learning. I give students detailed feedback individually or on group assignments on tasks I assign them in my course and I teach them how to give feedback to each others15. In my feedback I highlight areas of high performance and also where there is room for improvement.
5. Educational activities should promote collaboration and cooperation. Students of psychology need practice to develop good skills in collaboration and cooperation16. Psychologists will work in several collaborative constellations with colleagues with various backgrounds and experiences and I design assignments that students solve in groups of different sizes and compositions.
6. Students must learn specific and generic skills useful to their work. Students should graduate with specific skills, knowledge and abilities that equip them to work as psychologists, but they also need generic skills that allow them to produce, evaluate, and apply knowledge in new circumstances17. In my community psychology course, students acquire new knowledge, but I also encourage them to transfer their existing knowledge to new contexts. I try to expand their perceptions of the roles of a psychologist, and give them perspective on how psychological knowledge is relevant to tackling structural and social issues in our society.
7. Learning outcomes, teaching tools and assessment methods must by constructively aligned. In my teaching I try to align18 what students should learn with the methods I use to teach and how I assess what they have learned.
I want to continue to develop as a teacher and will keep experimenting with different strategies to teaching and assessments. I aim to keep improving the operationalization19 and alignment of learning outcomes, teaching approaches and assessment strategies for PROPSY315 Community psychology and in other courses where I am in a position to do so. I also plan to increase my formal training as an educator by taking courses offered by Program for University Pedagogy at the University of Bergen.
Biggs, et al, 2011. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill↩︎
Bloom, 1956. Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd.↩︎
Biggs, et al, 2011. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill↩︎
Bloom, 1956. Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd.↩︎