25 May 2023

What makes a really good student? Commitment! What makes a really good teacher? Commitment and maybe the ability to get up early in the morning. When the first two award winners of Sweden’s largest teaching prize, Ingemars Lärarpris, get together, the discussion ranges from teachers as role models to students who learn for life. 

Three persons around a table.
Prize donor and prize winners. Ingemar Ingemarsson talks with award winners Daniel Carlsson and Leif Burman. Charlotte Perhammar

Ingemar Ingemarsson’s teaching award is something quite unique in Sweden. It is awarded to “a person who is making, or who has made, a major contribution to education and its development at LiU, with a lasting effect on student learning”. So, what do the first two winners talk about when they meet for a chat over lunch? Commitment, humility, development and accuracy are recurring words in the conversation. And that what you do is not for yourself, but for the students!

Create dialogue

“Commitment is something you can influence, something you can choose to put into your teaching. As a young teacher, I relied mostly on commitment and good intentions. Now I see that I also have to be accurate in what I do. Not necessarily do right all the time, but be able to see what can be developed in my teaching. To create dialogue with the students and work with, not against, them,” says Daniel Carlsson.

“But also to create interesting learning situations, where the teaching is about something that is real,” Leif Burman fills in.

“It raises the bar but it also creates commitment. Commitment is essential in a teacher, if you don’t have it you should probably do something else,” says Leif Burman, who then asks if he is expressing himself too drastically.

Train as you intend to compete

So, what makes a good student? Exactly the same commitment. That you care and feel that what you learn will be useful.
“I usually tell those students who want to study to pass an exam, that the teaching should be like a cognitive gym. To train as you intend to compete. What you learn should be able to be used at many different times in your life, not just on one occasion. It’s about learning techniques and methods,” says Daniel.

“And craft,” Leif adds. “Regardless of the subject, maths or carpentry, we use our knowledge all the time to solve problems, measure angles…

“…find the golden ratio, figure things out,” continues Daniel.

For both Daniel and Leif, Ingemars teaching prize has meant a lot. A boost for self-esteem and for the profession, and a great honour.

“I feel tremendously humble. Imagine being chosen from all the talented teachers at LiU,” says Daniel.

But what was that about getting up early in the morning? Well, there is always something to develop as a teacher, and for Leif Burman, the quiet hours in the morning, before the teaching starts, are when the new thoughts and ideas come.

“That’s when I solve everything!”

Who is Daniel Carlsson?
The first winner of Ingemars Lärarpris. Employed at the Department of Mathematics since 1996 (but began teaching as a student), manager of Maths Coach Online for 13 years now.

Who is Leif Burman?
Master carpenter at Campus Lidingö, responsible for the cabinetmaking programme, has always loved wood!

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