No matter if biology students will become researchers, work as lab technicians or get a job in a biotechnology company, their professional development will always require a strong scientific background. This creates a firm motivation for us instructors to keep up with our own careers as active scientists. Likewise, our research as Faculty members greatly benefits from teaching, which helps us to stay alert of new developments in many fields and, most importantly, keeps us in contact with many enthusiastic students.
What do I do about this?
I offer the opportunity to my students of witnessing how science progresses. I always try to present the contents of my courses as knowledge that resulted from question-driven research. Students are expected to learn facts and concepts to build a general background, but to me it is as important (or more!) that they train the abilities that will help them to develop an independent career. I promote critical thinking in my classrooms, encouraging students to question their own and others’ ideas, including mine. I organize practical sessions and seminars that help students gain a well-equipped conceptual and technical toolbox. A major goal is to help students to realize how important it is to do good experimental and statistical design, obtain high-quality data, gain theoretical and practical knowledge of relevant field and laboratory techniques, and develop oral and written communication skills.