Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Five question to the professor- week 7

As mentioned in an earlier blogpost, we decided on doing some interviews with professors and other staff connected with the RREprogram. First one out is Martin Ehrensvärd, from Copenhagen University.

1. Please state your name,age, university and connection to the RREprogram.
Martin Ehrensvärd, 44, University of Copenhagen. I'm the local coordinator which means that I'm the one with most contact with the students, trying to make sure that everything runs smoothly. I also lecture in the programme.

2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in the RREprogram?
I'm a Semitic philologist by training and have mostly published in the area of language, mostly classical Hebrew but also Arabic. I teach classical Hebrew and classical Arabic, and in addition I lecture in mysticism and some early mystics.

3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular university courses but also not distance learning?
I love it! I teach via Skype, and I love the flexibility of it - being able to teach students resident all over Scandinavia. Also, the teaching can go on undisturbed even if they or I am travelling. On a side note, the students in the programme tend to be bright, and this adds tremendously to the joy of teaching.

4. What do you expect from your students?
I expect that they sign up to the courses out of a genuine motivation to learn - and that they expect to be able to spend seven or eight hours pr. week, including classes. I also expect and encourage them to cooperate with me so that we together can create the best possible learning environment. When everybody state what they think without holding back, it is much easier to go forward together.

5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?
Very interesting question. Ok, well, my greatest wish for every human being, including myself, is that we become more curious about what it actually is like to be in other peoples' shoes. In other words, the empathetic urge to set one's own agenda aside for a moment and genuinely sense into what is going on 'over there', be it in another person (like a relative or colleague) or a group of people. So, I would choose the power to plant the idea in everybody's heart that it might be a good idea to start genuinely finding out what it is like to be in someone else's shoes, especially the people one is in conflict with. And why? Because I think this would make the world a vastly better place to live for everyone.

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