Monday, August 25, 2008

Looking forward to learning again

For most universities and colleges, today is the first day of the new academic year.

The joys of overfull parking lots, stuffed cafeterias around lunch time, and battling through waves and waves of students on your way to your next meeting is offset greatly by the presence of "learning".

It sounds a little romantic, and possibly even naive and/or imaginary, but working in higher education has always given me the feeling that being around so many people who are learning has something reinvigorating.



New students who come to the institution at the beginning of the
semester sometimes bring with them a true willingness to learn. It is
those people who make working at a university campus worth while.

Helping
someone who is willing to learn master new material is incredibly
rewarding. And the best part of it is, while teaching, tutoring, and
mentoring, I also get a chance to deepen my own level of understanding
and expand my knowledge of the materials that I will be teaching.

This year, teaching will be different for me.

In
previous jobs, I was used to teaching groups consisting of between 20
and 90 students. This year, I'll be working with a group of around ten
participants. Working with a such a small group allows a much more
personal approach to knowledge transfer.

Rather than
lecturing all the time, I will try to encourage and nurture discussion.
Of course, some of the time, lectures are necesarry. Transfer of
elementary knowledge that is a prerequisite to understanding the
material is not always the most exciting thing to do, yet it is a
necessary evil. However, throughout the weeks, I will be encouraging
students to write about their learning experiences in their course
blogs (non-public, sorry), actively participate in several exercises,
and hopefully master the topic of the class.

I'm looking forward to the start of the new Academic Year!

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