Problem Based Learning in Suriname!
Problem based learning is well known among Erasmus students. It’s a student-centered system, that differs from the more traditional systems. In particular because it promotes an active learning style. Students learn about new subjects by solving open-ended problems during work groups. PBL has gained popularity as it proved to be quite a successful system. The departments of Pedagogy, Psychology and Sociology at Erasmus use PBL. However, Erasmus isn’t a solo player. Since a few years, the Psychology department of the Anton de Kom University (ADEK) in Suriname also uses it. This was set up in collaboration with Erasmus. Nowadays bachelor Psychology students of ADEK basically follow the same program as the Psychology students of Erasmus. Sjovie Amoksi is 25 years old and lives in Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. She recently completed the Bachelor of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology and shares her experiences with us.
Why did you choose to study Psychology?
I believe that children are the foundation of our future society. I think it’s very important to guide them in the best possible way and invest in them. This is also important if we want to live in a healthy society. So I chose to follow the bachelor of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology to contribute to a more beautiful society.
What did you like about your studies?
I enjoyed the first year the most, as the material and lectures were very diverse. It was nice to get a bit of everything. We learned a lot of different theories, which gave me a lot of new insights regarding different perspectives. I found it really interesting to learn about what goes on in my mind. Now I know how to recognize certain emotions in myself and in others for instance, as I understand more of myself I understand more of others. I also enjoyed the different practicals.
What was less likable?
The little time in between the last work group and the exam was sometimes difficult to deal with. We often only had two to three days between the last work group and exam, so there was little time to study. I would’ve really appreciated some extra time in order to be more well-prepared.
What is your opinion regarding PBL?
I think PBL is wonderful! Thanks to the PBL system, I really enjoyed the work groups and experienced them as truly vivid. We really got the chance to have in depth conversations and discussions regarding important and relevant topics. And because the groups were relatively small, everyone got the opportunity to participate. This also counts for students who were more shy or a bit insecure regarding their own competencies. In my opinion this wouldn’t be the case with a more traditional system. And when everyone is well-prepared, it definitely adds up to personal and group performances.
What kind of job do you aspire?
I have got a lot of aspirations! I would love to have my own clientele. After my masters, I definitely want to become a part time teacher at the university. I would also like to do project based jobs for the government. I would also love to become a researcher and publish books and articles regarding my own research.
Do you have any tips for other Psychology students?
The time between work groups can be difficult to deal with, as I had the tendency to postpone some of my work. I even started to get a bit lazy after a while. My tip is, don’t postpone and don’t start slacking, but begin right away. If you aren’t well prepared for the next work group, you really miss out. If you don’t know or understand what the rest is talking about, because you didn’t read the literature, you can really miss a lot of important information for the exams. And if you are well prepared, you can really get the most out of it. It might sound cliche, but it is true. I’ve experienced it myself.