The School of Science, Health and Technology
M. Sc. (D.U.), Ph.D. (Dalhousie Univ., Canada)
Dean, School of Science, Health and Technology and Professor of Biology
Our fundamental task as teachers is to prepare our students to courageously face the reality of life. We teach students facts and principles of the subject matter and help them to develop higher-order thinking skills. To be effective in this task, I believe a teacher should first have expert knowledge of the subject, then be well prepared and organized in presenting the material. An effective teacher must behave as a role model, show enthusiasm for the subject, and warmth towards the students. Teachers must be alert to detect students’ confusion, and have patience and time to clarify points creating this difficulty. Teachers must treat students fairly within the context of their teaching responsibility. Teachers must be good motivators to promote students’ self-esteem and enthusiasm that would generate students desire to learn. They must be prepared to be good listeners, and questioners as well as good lecturers. Teachers are enzymes to their students’ success. I believe teaching is not only a job; it is also a mission; it is a commitment.
At the beginning of a class I always ask students if they have questions about the previous lesson before continuing with new material. I begin by presenting an objective and outline of the lesson, linking it to material already covered. I then proceed systematically through the lecture, and present a summary at the end. During the lecture, I carefully observe my students to see if they are following the presentation or getting lost. In the latter case, I pause, try to lighten the mood a bit, and repeat the material using different analogies, and wording before proceeding further. At the end of my lecture, I quite often ask students to write a two-minute response on what they have learned or what they have not grasped well during the session. I emphasize concepts rather than asking students to memorize facts. I am creative and open to change. I have a passion for continuous learning and self-improvement.
I use both teacher-centered and learner-centered learning approaches in my teaching. I encourage students to develop their own ideas and to ask for clarification if they do not understand something. I try to make them understand that there is no such thing as a foolish question when a person is sincerely trying to learn. I make my lecture materials available to students for copying. I believe that the best undergraduate science course format includes classroom instruction, tutorial sessions, and hands-on laboratory exercises. Like many other science educators, I believe that one learns science by doing science.In terms of maintaining a disciplined teaching environment, I insist on quiet and orderly conduct during lectures; however, I always try to see the situation from the students’ perspective as well as my own, and don't worry about minor infractions. I try to concentrate on the cause of problems rather than the effect in seeking solutions. I am a good listener. I can be firm or permissive depending on the requirements of the situation. I expect to see honesty in my students and a willingness to work hard to achieve my course goals. I am comfortable in interactions with students from diverse racial and religious backgrounds, as I am a strong believer in the fundamental equality of all humans. This last point I believe to be very important, as teaching is a human process that requires positive interpersonal relationships for success.