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Ronald van Luijk

‘I love explaining the ideas and motivation behind the formal proofs that are written in the books,’ says mathematician Ronald van Luijk. ‘If you understand these ideas, then you don’t have to remember the proofs, as you can reconstruct them yourself. Therefore, I only consider my class successful if my students have learned some ideas that are not so obvious from the book.’ His students appreciate Van Luijk’s teaching style: ‘Through his enthusiasm and passion for mathematics, we are enthused and activated to master the complex matter at hand.’

I only consider my class successful if my students have learned some ideas that are not so obvious from the book’

Van Luijk likes to be approachable when he teaches. ‘Students should feel free to ask questions, both inside and outside the classroom. One way I try to achieve this is by giving bonuses for finding mistakes in what I say or write on the blackboard.’  

How would Van Luijk spend the prize money? ‘I believe the best way for students to learn mathematics is to go through exercises themselves. Therefore, I propose a room with blackboards along all the walls, where students could work in groups of two or three, while the teacher can quickly assess who needs what kind of help.’ According to Van Luijk, this would allow teachers to help a group that needs extra explanation, while at the same time they could warn another group for little calculation errors. ‘This makes for a very efficient teaching and learning process. I would love to invest in such a classroom.’

Nominated for the courses: Algebra 1 | Linear Algebra 2
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