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Onno van Gaans

For mathematician Onno van Gaans, teaching is a satisfying experience every single day. ‘It is a privilege to work with a group of young people who are so enthusiastic and talented, because that’s what the students of our Faculty are. When I have explained a new insight, I can see on the students’ faces how for one after the other the penny drops. I still find that moment magical.’

‘It is a privilege to work with a group of young people who are so enthusiastic and talented, because that’s what the students of our Faculty are.

Van Gaans also sees himself as a motivator. ‘A lecturer at a university is essentially a driving force. The students have to make themselves familiar with the subject matter, and they have the talent to do so. However, the pace and level are so high that hardly anyone succeeds in keeping up with everything by oneself. As a teacher, you can always elevate the student’s motivation and keep up the pace by removing barriers. Then we can enjoy the beauty of mathematics together!’

Van Gaans would spend the prize money on a camera for recording lectures. ‘It is my experience that by making recordings available, the power of chalkboard lectures becomes even stronger. Students think along more intensively because they are less afraid of not having complete notes. In addition, they can look back on parts of the lectures that went too fast, or that were given when they were too saturated to record anything else.’

Nominated for the course: Calculus 1
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