I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

Pedagogical tips and tricks for classrooms and HEF confirmations

Being a humanist confirmation course leader for HEF is a bit like being a teacher, but the freedom to cover whatever topics you what, as long as they come under the core themes of life stances, humanism and human rights, is counter-balanced by the fact that, for most course leaders, you are responsible for a group of fourteen-year-olds, without any real pedagogical training.

That isn’t to say that there isn’t any pedagogical support, however. As part of the humanist confirmation leader course, Cecilie Borborg, a course leader and teacher, shared her tips for running productive sessions.

Planning:


1. Learn names as soon as possible (it’s the easiest way to establish a personal and warm connection).

2. Be clear with your goals, both for the whole course and with each session. Having clear goals leads to less confusion and better learning outcomes.

3. Always be two steps ahead – of everything.

4. Pay as much attention to the changes between activities as what happens during the activities themselves, as this is when any confusion is most likely to take place.

5. To facilitate changes in activities, establish an attention-grabbing behavior (whistle, hand clap), rather than just asking them to settle down.

6. Give set concrete timeframes for activities, and always give 1 or 5-minute warnings.

Facilitating learning and discussions:


1. Concentrate on the thought processes that led to the answer to the question, not the answer itself.

2. Be sure to give praise and recognition to every contribution. Both and point 1 are essential for facilitating critical reflection and helps when you receive a ‘wrong’ answer.

3. Let the students do as much talking amongst themselves as possible. Their ideas are unlikely to be fully formed; talking helps them construct their meaning and reflect on their opinions.

4. Don’t try to do too much too quickly: allow for sufficient thinking time after each question.

5. For discussions, use the following technique to make sure you get contributions from everyone in the group, and not just the keen, extrovert students:

  1. Pose a question to the group. Tell them at you will pick someone to answer, rather than someone putting their hand up. If picked, they must provide some sort of answer (although it is, of course, ok to say they don’t know).
  2. Give them time to think.
  3. Pick a person at random. To make it, fair draw their name out of a hat or assign them a number  from 1 to 6 and roll a die.
  4. Once the person has answered, either pick another person at random, or open it up for question and responses where students can raise their hands.
  5. Use Think > Pair > Share for discussions if you have students that are not comfortable sharing their views with the whole group.

The Story of the Perfect Body

Snus: What's the Harm - Additional reading