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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

 

Israel Temparo, Javier Carretero González and Elizabeth Castillo Martínez, all postdoctoral researchers in the Department of Chemistry, received Erasmus+ funding to jointly deliver a 3-week course (6 ECTS credits) in Materials Science in the prestigious international summer school at the Universidade da Coruña (University of A Coruña). The summer school is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world, who can receive course credit in their home institutions for the work they do there.

Postdocs naturally prioritise their research, but teaching experience is also a valuable asset when it comes to applying for permanent academic jobs, and can be hard to come by. Opportunities for postdocs to design their own undergraduate lecture courses are certainly in short supply, which makes the opportunity to teach in a summer school particularly valuable. Elizabeth pointed out the unusual range of teaching experience they had gained from the summer school, including creating their own syllabus, designing and delivering fifteen hours of lecturing each, and designing assessments for the students. Javier added that summer school required a different kind of teaching to the usual undergraduate lecture, with less focus on explaining the basics and more on enthusing students about the most recent research in the subject. All agreed their teaching had improved as a result of working on the summer school, which had given them the chance to try things out, reflect on what had worked and what hadn’t, and make adjustments. Summer school teaching had thus offered them the sort of reflective, iterative experience that would be helpful for preparing an application for a Higher Education Academy fellowship, or a teaching statement for the American academic jobmarket.  All praised the user-friendliness of the Erasmus+ scheme and the efficiency of the international students team who processed their applications, and would highly recommend the Erasmus+ scheme to other postdocs.

If any reader wishes to learn more about the Erasmus + scheme or the summer school, please email enquiries@cctl.cam.ac.uk and we can put you in touch with Israel, Elizabeth and Javier.

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