Even after years of teaching, I do consider interaction (inside and outside of the classroom) with students not as a burden or obligatory task, but as a daily challenge and opportunity to learn from and with my students, and to improve my skills as an educator.
In order to explicitly and implicitly transmit the content of the seminars, I have developed specific formats for my classes depending on the topic. These are subject to continuous modification for the purpose of improvement. Of utmost importance for me is to get the students personally involved.
When teaching, I put strong emphasis on imparting not only theoretical, methodological and empirical knowledge, but also on teaching my students how to critically read various texts from different disciplines, analyse and reflect them, how to argue (verbally and in written form) in a stringent manner while 'reaching out' to related disciplines, to look beyond the usual explanation, and to think in depth about the issue in an experimental and independent manner. Further, I draw attention to the linking of theory and empirical research with the respective essential qualitative-hermeneutical as well as quantitative-statistical methods and instruments, and to a continuous further development and enhancement which are necessary due to the rapidly changing society. Students should never understand concepts or models as a correct or sufficient description of reality, but always question them by assuming different perspectives. Quantitative results cannot be interpreted without discussing the limitations and implicit assumptions of the model.
Fostering the creativity of the students is one of my major goals. Creativity can only flourish when there is mutual trust and responsibility. Therefore I try to reduce the number of formal obligations as much as possible in order to increase freedom, spontaneity, independence and pleasure. For similar reasons, I am introducing new techniques of planning to my students: Social change, often described as post-phenomena, is changing our shared environmental and urban experiences. Transversality or trans-difference affects the construction and perception of environment and the Lebenswelt, and thus the fundamental planning principles. When developing new nomocratic forms of planning together with my students, e. g. by introducing improvisation techniques in planning methods, creativity is fostered, and students are prepared to new 'postmodern' (not linear, less teleocratic) modes of planning, laying the foundations for environmental planners of the next generation. In a sense, research and teaching join up to a new interactive format.
When possible, I try to involve ambitious students into my third-party funded projects. Depending on their performance, I will assign them responsible for parts of the project which they can carry out under my supervision. In that way, I hope to introduce them to the basic procedures of professional academic research.
I encourage master students to present their thesis in internal as well as external workshops and interdisciplinary colloquia for the purpose of peer-to-peer exchange and feedback, which is highly beneficial not only for the author of the particular thesis but also for the other participants.
Under my supervision, undergraduate as well as postgraduate students have gained valuable expertise which they referred to as crucial in their job search (both inside and outside academia).
My teaching and research sojourn at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte (UNCC) demonstrates my abilities to teach in English Language (in addition to Spanish and German).