Were you surprised?
“Very! The award came without any warning. I was invited to a meeting with the department’s management, during which the award committee knocked on the door to announce that I had won it. I was totally speechless – and that's not something that happens very often.”

Klingenberg found it a bit awkward that the award announcement was made in the middle of an important meeting – but of course it had been staged. The important discussion would have to wait.

Students and teachers can nominate teachers who have made outstanding educational contributions to student learning in one or more specific nomination categories. The committee looks at teaching contributions (skill and commitment), research basis (ability to innovate) and educational leadership and collaboration (ability to develop higher education through dialogue and collaboration with students, teachers and/or others within and outside the University.) A total of five awards worth SEK 20,000 each are presented each year.

Klingenberg received the award because she is a committed, inspiring and communicative teacher. She has no idea who nominated her.

“There was a comment that gave me the impression the nomination came from students, but I don't know any more than that.”

What are your tricks? Do you have any special techniques as a teacher?

“Claiming that I do something special from a teaching point of view only embarrasses me. I have good and bad days just like everyone else.”

If Klingenberg were to name just one technique, however, it is that she listens a lot to the students. “As a teacher, it may seem obvious why a course is structured in a particular way and what assignments it involves. This is rarely as obvious to students.

“I see it as my job to highlight and explain the underlying logic,” she explains. Student feedback on teaching and assessment helps me to understand how and whether what I have tried to communicate has been successful. I get to see what works well and what I can improve.”

What do you consider most important as a teacher when teaching students?

“Being clear and fair,” responds Klingenberg. “Anyone who has ever listened to a vague lecture or attended a meeting with an unclear agenda knows how ambiguity can make your skin crawl. This can be applied to the students’ situation too. Clarity allows students to better crack the academic code and understand what is expected of them, what they do well and what they can work on more.”

Klingenberg clarifies that being fair means both praising and pointing out what needs to be improved. This can lead to teachers having to make difficult decisions.

“But if a degree is to have any value, we cannot accept a substandard performance. It’s also unfair to let work pass because that feels easier,” she adds.

Do you have any concrete advice or tips concerning teaching?

“It’s difficult to give concrete advice and tips because the conditions for learning need to be created in relation to specific situations and goals,” Klingenberg explains. “A more general piece of advice that benefits teaching in any situation is that every teacher should try to be themselves. Educational role models are useful and it is important to be inspired by others, but you cannot be anyone else: not even as a teacher.”

What will you do with the award money?

“I don’t want the prize money to go straight into the household budget – that would be boring – but it’s not yet clear what I’ll do with it.”