Teaching


Teaching Scope
Martijn offers a broad teaching scope that stems from his academic interest in the intersection between international security and research methodology. As a result, Martijn is able to teach a variety of courses at the undergraduate level, including general introductions to political science, international relations, security studies, international relations theory, research methods, and “Contemporary Warfare” (see Courses Developed).

At the graduate level, Martijn could teach a number of specialist courses on contemporary security issues and modern military operations (e.g. the war on terror and stabilisation operations), military and defence policy analysis, strategic theory, the European Security and Defence Policy, research design, case-based methods, and quantitative data analysis (using either SPSS or Stata).

Teaching Philosophy
Teaching from the conviction that the ideal teacher should “educate students to educate themselves”, Martijn’s teaching philosophy emphasises hands-on problem driven teaching and transferable skills. For today’s jobs in business, NGOs, government or academia, students should not only gain thorough theoretical knowledge; they also need to be able to apply this knowledge to real world problems, now and in the future. In order for students to do so, a good teacher should accomplish two things. First, a good teacher should inspire and challenge students, stimulating their curiosity and critical thinking by showing them the questions that can be raised and the approaches that can be used to address them. Second, a good teacher has to provide students with the skills and the conceptual, theoretical and methodological building blocks for further study.

In order to build students’ confidence and help them analyse real world problems, Martijn’s teaching involves a three part cycle:

  • First, students are provided with new information (via assigned readings, or via a lecture or seminar presentation). Importantly, students are offered guidelines for studying the literature (such as study questions) that help them place the new information in context and identify key issues.
  • Next, students are given supervised hands-on practise within a seminar setting to help them fully grasp and apply the new concepts and approaches they encounter.
  • Finally, the understanding and problem solving abilities of students are taken to a higher level by more challenging individual or small group assignments.

In this cycle workshop-style seminars (see the box on the right) and regular feedback on assignments play a central role to ensure that students make the most of their learning opportunities.


Teaching Experience
At Aberystwyth University Martijn gained considerable teaching experience as a seminar tutor for a number of undergraduate courses. These courses included:

  • “21st Century Warfare” (taught twice)
  • “Special Forces: Theory and Practice”
  • “World Politics in the Age of Two World Wars”


Besides seminar teaching, Martijn also gave a guest lecture for a course on twentieth century warfare, titled “Strategic Bombing during World War II: The Combined Bomber Offensive, 1943-45”.
 
At the request of the Office of Postgraduate Studies at Aberystwyth University, Martijn has also developed and taught a one day seminar for Ph.D. students on “Case Study Research and Causal Inference.” Martijn has incorporated his experience with this one day seminar in a new course design for the course “Case-Based Methods and Causal Inference” (see below).
 
Courses Developed
Based on his teaching interests Martijn has developed a number of new courses that are not generally taught in Politics and International Relations Departments in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. These courses should therefore provide a valuable addition to existing undergraduate and graduate curricula.

“Contemporary Warfare: Political, Technological and Military Trends and the Use of Force.” This advanced undergraduate course aims to familiarise students with the complexities of contemporary warfare.

Case-Based Methods and Causal Inference.” This graduate level course teaches students a number of advanced case-based methods that are frequently used in top publications in comparative politics and international relations, but that are not extensively taught in UK politics departments.

“Military Analysis for Political Scientists.” This graduate level course introduces students to a number of different analytical techniques for studying military operations, strategy and policy.