Assessment of teaching skills

The teaching skills of applicants for research and teaching positions and docentships are assessed comprehensively.

As­sess­ment of teach­ing skills

Teaching skills are assessed as a whole, including documents submitted by the applicant, a teaching demonstration and an interview with the teaching skills committee. The assessment criteria are based on the Dean’s decision on 11th March 2024 (pdf). The applicant will always receive a statement of his or her teaching skills. 

The teaching skills are graded using the following scale: passable – satisfactory – good – very good – excellent. The  assessment of teaching skills indicates whether the applicant is qualified for the position in terms of his or her teaching skills.

The teach­ing de­mon­stra­tion

The idea of a teaching demonstration is to illustrate how (in a pedagogically meaningful way) you would teach a given subject to a given target group of students. A teaching demonstration demonstrates such teaching that you want to show, i.e. what you perceive as good teaching. The applicant will give the teaching demonstration as if teaching an actual target audience, addressing and engaging the audience as they see fit. The applicant will give the teaching demonstration as if teaching an actual target audience, addressing and engaging the audience as they see fit. Note that "a teaching demonstration" is very different from "a scientific presentation"! Therefore, the idea is not to illustrate your own knowledge on the subject. Most typically, giving a scientific presentation cannot be considered as good teaching, or teaching at all. Try to focus on a combination of knowledge and skills for the students, and how you could include activating elements in the demonstration. The duration of the teaching demonstration is limited, and the idea is not to condense an entire lecture into a shorter period of time, but to provide a sample of a teaching session within a set time limit. The time is short, so a good design will help you.

When assessing teaching skills of applicants applying for a position, it is recommended to give all applicants the same title for the teaching demonstration. Applicants for docentship choose their title individually.

The assessment of the teaching demonstration includes assessment of the applicant's teaching language skills according to the University of Helsinki regulations Section 32: the applicant needs language skills required for the position. The teaching language in Bachelor’s programmes is either Finnish or Swedish. Master’s and Doctoral programmes can be English or multilingual, depending on the programme. It is beneficial for the applicant to give the teaching demonstration in the language needed in the position.

The demonstration will be assessed according to the assessment criteria for teaching skills referred to above.

The teaching demonstration event takes approximately 60 min and includes

  • the teaching demonstration 25 min (public!)
  • an interview 15-20 min (the committee and applicant)
  • a committee meeting (the committee only)

Com­par­ison of qual­i­fied ap­plic­ants

The Teaching Skills Committee may assign an overall grade for the teaching skills to distinguish between otherwise qualified applicants. The applicable grades are ‘good’ and ‘excellent’.

Alternatively, the Committee may evaluate the applicants’ teaching skills in more detail. The following is a sample comparison of three applicants: The Teaching Skills Committee concludes that applicant A ranks higher in the assessment of teaching skills than the other two candidates. The Committee does not deem it necessary to make additional comparisons between applicants B and C. Both applicants gave an excellent teaching demonstration and have similar prior teaching experience, pedagogical training and other teaching qualifications.