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Paula Havaste

Paula Valpuri Havaste (née  Aho)
Born April 15, 1962, Rovaniemi

Master of Arts, 1989 and Licentiate of Philosophy (Finnish Literature), 1991, University of Helsinki
Doctor of Philosophy, 1998, University of Oulu

Programme Director and Events manager 2004-, Heureka Science Park
Assistant, 1990-96, Department of Finnish Literature, University of Helsinki
Publicist, 1997-2004, Finnish National Theatre

Awards and current positions of trust
Kalle Päätalo Award 2004
Laila Hirvisaari Award 2004
Konstiniekka Cultural Award, Nurmijärvi Municipality 2012
Deputy chair, Tieteen tiedotus ry (’Publicising science’)
Board member, Lauri Jäntti Foundation
Board member, Union of Finnish Writers
Member, literature division, Alfred Kordelin Foundation

Photo: Marek Sabogal
Written by Paula Havaste
Translated by John Calton

My best memories of the University of Helsinki

What I miss most from my time at University is working with the students. So many keen and intelligent young people, and more coming every autumn! I felt privileged to get to know so many students over the years. I also got to see how many individuals, now in the public eye, found a way to distinguish themselves during their time as students. It might have been a student applying for the Theatre Studies programme, the one dreaming about writing a children’s book or the young firebrand with strong views about the importance of culture. Their talent shone through, and I was the happy bystander who got to witness the process.

During my time as a university teacher I was interested in finding ways of making teaching more collaborative. Discussion and working things out together proved a good way to get learning outcomes that would stick. Working with bright young students meant sharing the learning and helping discover things for themselves rather than just taking notes.

It was amazing how my initially slightly suspicious audience warmed to a discursive teaching style and began to throw out challenging questions and their solutions. I recall how sometimes I fancied myself the conductor with her baton, from time to time getting a roomful of bright people to play the same intoxicating tune.

I imagine that university teaching has moved on a bit since, and that openness and inductive learning has largely taken the place of stern lecturing styles. But teaching is one of those fascinating areas where you can always learn! So it’s good that teaching skills are supported – for the lecturers and the University as a whole. It improves the outcome - good teaching pays.

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