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Birkbeck Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship Award for Earth and Planetary Sciences lecturer

Simon Drake explains what motivates his teaching which has been recognised in this year's Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship Awards.

Birkbeck Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship Award for Earth and Planetary Sciences lecturer

Simon Drake, Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Birkbeck, will be presented with a Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship Award at this year’s reception for winners on February 25 at Senate House.

Simon shared some of his thoughts on his approaches to teaching, highlights of teaching in the department and his response to receiving the award:

I teach the first year core module Introduction to Geology and co-lead the allied annual Isle of Skye field class. Birkbeck has helped me achieve some of my goals: first as an undergraduate, now as a post-graduate student, and I want to help others achieve theirs. I try and pass on knowledge and enthuse students with a subject I am passionate about. I believe strongly in pastoral support and encourage students to communicate with their peers for support.

As a field geologist I am constantly looking at new ways to link classroom based learning with field observations and techniques. I have introduced classroom based recording of 3D field data, Saturday petrography sessions, student based social network groups, and led and co-led field-classes to the Isle of Skye, NW Scotland and the English Lake District for the Birkbeck Student Geological Society, Geological Society of London and the Open University.

I am very honoured to receive this reward for teaching a subject I love. I think I’ve been very lucky at Birkbeck. Firstly, to have been supervised and inspired as an undergraduate by a truly gifted field geologist, Dr Brin Roberts. Secondly, I have met so many intelligent, interesting and diverse people through teaching, many of whom are now professional geologists. And to think it all started with a phone call one night to Birkbeck enquiring about studying.

Simon's nomination for the award reads:
Simon Drake’s teaching is extremely popular with our students and our students find Simon to be a very dedicated and patient educator. The fact that he goes out of his way to help students has gained the respect of staff and students alike. Simon’s first-year field class is very successful and he puts incredible effort into his teaching, leading from the front by producing excellent maps himself and showing students how to do the same. He is an inspiration for our students.

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