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Tuesday
Oct312017

Getting to Know your NPTA Recipients

 

Dr Alex See (School of Engineering - Electrical Engineering Division)

 

(1)    How do you see your role as a lecturer?

As a lecturer, one of my key roles is to inspire my students to be motivated and passionate about their learning - that is the heartbeat of my teaching philosophy.  I like to provide students with an authentic learning experience as much as possible. I also give them the opportunity to work and interact with industry partners which I see is a vital part of their learning experience. Another of my role as a teacher is to allow students to see the practical application of their knowledge and skills in industry, increasing their motivation and “passion” for what they are learning in the classroom.   

 

(2)    What keeps you going in as a lecturer?

As an engineering educator, we have been facing the issue of declining students’ interest in the study of engineering, especially in the past few years. This is a global phenomenon and trend faced by numerous academic institutions around the world. This has created a challenging environment for engineering educators as many of our students are not motivated or interested in the topics we teach. While this is a difficult situation, I also see this challenge as a good reason for us as engineering educators to find new ways to engage our learners. This could be through the use of effective learning and teaching strategies.  These “challenges” are what keeps me motivated and going as a lecturer at NP.

 

(3)    What are the important traits of excellence as a lecturer?

I firmly believe that a proficient lecturer is one that is an all-rounded person who possesses an engaging personality, positive attitude and the ability to work under pressure. An important trait is the lecturer’s ability to keep up to date with learning and teaching pedagogies. The lecturer must also keep abreast of key curriculum design, delivery considerations and practices, as well as sound assessment strategies in order to keep the learners engaged.

 

(4)    How do you keep yourself relevant as an educator and as a professional?

I believe that “professional development of self” is vital for educators. The motivation and drive to stay informed of new technological developments and keeping close contact with the industries are crucial to keep ourselves relevant. I am grateful to NP for the opportunities to attend regular internal and external training programmes. These training programmes have deepened my understanding in both my professional domain expertise as well as pedagogical approaches helping me to become a more effective educator. Besides professional training, I also believe in keeping myself relevant to industry through professional certifications. I am privileged to hold two professional certifications from National Instruments. I hope to pursue other relevant professional certifications in the near future.

 

(5)    If you were to write a short paragraph to introduce yourself as a lecturer, what would you write?

My portfolio as a senior lecturer at NP is multi-faceted. Besides being instrumental in creating effective teaching and learning experiences for students, I am also a mentor, coach, technology evangelist, educational advocator for nurturing youths at NP.  I am passionate about education and consider this as a long term career. I am grateful to have successfully nurtured numerous graduates who are now leaders in their own specializations and fields of engineering.  I will continue to ‘plant the seeds’ of lifelong learning in all my students.

 

Mr Chong Ching Liang (School of Health Sciences)

 

(1)   How do you see your role as a lecturer?

I see myself not as a teacher but as a guide. The world is structured via the internet for the learners to be their own teachers. My role is to help put up signposts to help learners navigate and construct their own learning. The notion of teaching in this day and age is difficult, with the pervasiveness of information from the web supplanting the teacher. So the challenge is for us to see ourselves as “former-teachers”, learning how to  grow into the role of the guide who can help facilitate the learning of our students. I never ever considered this role of guide as a job. It has always been a vocation.

 

(2)   What keeps you going as a lecturer?

The belief and the hope that through what I do, my efforts will add on to the efforts of others to collectively construct a better world for the future.  Embedded in this calling is a deeper desire that a teacher can help transform society.  It is not just the “Heads” that we need to engage, but our students’ Hearts, Knowledge, Empathy and Self-learning.  We guide our learners’ direction and equip them with the necessary critical thinking skills to enable them to make sense of the bewildering amount of choices of information they have before them.

 

(3)   What are the important traits of excellence as a lecturer?

To paraphrase the Serenity Prayer…. The courage to push the students’ learning no matter how difficult it may seem. The honesty of being able to see when we are wrong and be able to adapt and learn ourselves. Finally the wisdom to “step back”  if we recognise that students are not yet ready for the changes we hope they will embrace. I believe the true measure of a teacher learning-guide’s ability is not based on his or her ability to encourage students with low cut off points to learn but to motivate students who have lower academic self-esteem to achieve. 

 

(4)   How do you keep yourself relevant as an educator and as a professional?

By constantly assuming that I do not know anything. By respecting the fact that I will learn from my students as much as they will learn from me.  Finally, that students are my peers and not my subordinate.

 

(5)   If you were to write a short paragraph to introduce you as a lecturer, what would you write?

My life as a teacher has alternated between exhilaration at seeing students grow and transform, to sheer paranoia and feelings of deep-inadequacy as to whether have I taught well, appropriately and impacted my students’ learning process fully. The schizophrenic swing of emotions is simply an indication of the great responsibilities that comes naturally with teaching. (I wrote this for my first NPTA, still believe in this after all these years…)