Karin Nijenhuis wins Comenius Senior Fellowship: integrating dialogue as teaching method for student well-being

Karin Nijenhuis has won a Comenius Senior Fellowship for the project 'Feel connected! The integration of dialogue as a teaching method in higher education to improve student well-being'. The Comenius programme contributes to innovation and improvement of higher education in the Netherlands.

Post COVID, many students are still not feeling well and experience feelings of stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc. Leiden University, as other higher education institutions, has made many efforts to improve student well-being, such as peer support groups, but this is mainly done outside the classroom, preventing many students from being reached. Karin Nijenhuis aims to integrate dialogue as an educational method in order for students to feel more connected with each other and for their well-being to improve durably. The dialogue method developed by philosopher and quantum physicist David Bohm is a structured and attentive conversation that has set rules, allowing different perspectives to be presented and acknowledged. Consequently, participants feel heard and seen, and space is created for connection and new insights.

The dialogue will be implemented in at least seven existing Humanities courses, including African Studies. Lecturers and students will be trained as dialogue facilitators (students through an Honours Class) and form a network, and an online manual will be developed.

Photo: Students of the MA programme African Studies. Photo credits: Karin Nijenhuis.