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Timo Keski-Petäjä and Essi Nisonen rewarded for good teaching and pedagogical development

Published on 4.9.2023
Tampere University
Essi Nisonen ja Timo Keski-Petäjä received The Good Teaching and Teaching Developer Award. Photo: Jonne Renvall / Tampere University
The Good Teaching and Teaching Developer Award is conferred for excellently organised and implemented teaching that promotes the achievement of learning outcomes and the comprehensive development of students’ expertise.

Tampere University’s Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) grants the Good Teaching and Teaching Developer Award annually. The purpose of the award is to highlight the high quality of Tampere University’s teaching and teaching development. In 2023, the award criterion was curriculum work focusing on students’ participation and well-being in the planning, implementation and assessment of learning.

The recipients were chosen from the 17 proposals submitted by university community members. The award is €4.000 which the recipients can use to cover costs related to pedagogical development.

Timo Keski-Petäjä inspires deeper thinking

Timo Keski-Petäjä works as a university lecturer of administrative science methodology at the Faculty of Management and Business.

In the justifications for the prize, students praised Keski-Petäjä for the clarity of course units and the teaching methods used in them. He was also thanked for the way he inspires and introduces students to administrative science themes so that they can reflect and deepen their own thinking. But what inspires Keski-Petäjä himself?

“I think that life is full of opportunities, i.e. affordances, that are like vacuums waiting to be filled. They are most often filled with noise, haste, duties and performance. I try to fill teaching situations with insights and room to breathe. I provide impulses for us to jointly begin to fill the vacuums with brain waves. I do not want the learners to just climb on top of the mountain of my expertise,” Keski-Petäjä says.

In online courses, giving breathing space happens with small video clips to which Keski-Petäjä attaches reflection tasks. In face-to-face and online meetings, he facilitates a space for students to take a pause for learning and coming together.

“Giving time is an answer, but not a sufficient answer. We also need to be proudly ignorant and wave the flag of perplexity: ‘We don’t know! Ergo, we will find out!’ The rest happens out of sheer curiosity. From a situation structured by the teacher, the learners walk towards forgetfulness, but from a space of joint wonder, everyone will walk towards insights,” Keski-Petäjä points out.

Essi Nisonen encourages critical examination of norms

The other 2023 prize winners, Essi Nisonen, is a doctoral researcher of architecture at the Faculty of Built Environment. Nisonen is interested in developing the education of architects through environmental education perspectives and she also concentrates on the development of architectural education in the time of climate crisis in her forthcoming doctoral dissertation. The award criteria thank Nisonen for innovative teaching and for bringing this topic to discussion with the students comprehensively and excellently.

According to Nisonen, architects must critically examine the existing societal norms and structures and challenge the prevailing truths in design. By doing so, architects can create spaces and places that promote the well-being of the people and non-human animals that use them and enable a fossil-free everyday that is less dependent on consumption.

“Students have recently thought increasingly more about how they, as architects, can promote the realisation of comprehensive sustainability in a world where new construction should be the last resort in the development of the built environment. The best aspect of teaching is definitely the diverse and even challenging conversations with our talented, compassionate and curious students,” Nisonen says.

According to Nisonen, the best way to promote students’ well-being is to offer them a sense of control and ownership over their learning experiences and to include them in learning events as equal actors and builders of knowledge.

“We have worked hard to ensure that students feel good and inspired in our courses. Based on students’ feedback, we have succeeded in this, and we will certainly get even better in the future!” Nisonen promises.