Teaching and courses

The teaching profession contributes probably more to the future of our society than any other profession. For me, teaching is sharing ideas and arguments  – also my own ones – and practicing academic tools. In my teaching I try to apply basically the same principles as in my research. This is a problem driven approach, starting with a question to be answered (or aimed to be answered), followed by arguments, that is,  theories which have the potential to be an answer to the question posed, and last but not least the testing of these theories. My lectures usually start with a question, which is subsequently discussed. Popular examples among students are  ‘does internet make us lonely?’ – ‘ ‘better networks – better job?’ or ‘better a good neighbor than a distant friend?’

ISS – Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

ISS – Interdisciplinary Social Sciences – is a Bachelor’s programme (in Dutch: ASW, Algemene Sociale Wetenschappen) at the University of Amsterdam. Recently and together with a team, I designed a new curriculum for this programme and had the chance to read and learn a lot about the value of interdisciplinarity.

Social problems cannot be linked one-by-one with the social-science disciplines at our universities. As Popper already in 1963 put forward: “We are not students of some subject matter, but students of problems. And problems may cut right across the borders of any subject matter or discipline.

In the ASW-Bachelor’s programme, students learn the differences and similarities between a number of disciplines in the Social Sciences. Importantly, they learn to combine insights and become educated as interdisciplinary researchers and professionals: people who can easily switch perspectives, build bridges, who have general as well as in–depth knowledge of social and scientific problems – and who, last but not least, are eager to contribute to the solutions of these problems.

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