Gaining an in-depth understanding of the courses alone is not enough. The transfer of knowledge is also one of the cornerstones of scientific work. As an aspiring academic, I understand how crucial it is to also be able to communicate coherently. So, my ultimate aim is to transfer what I know to others. As a researcher, I have been learning from others and teaching others constantly throughout my career. This experience affords me with deeply routed, personal educational values.
Although teaching at the different levels of higher education can serve different goals, there are common educational values a teacher should uphold. A teacher should be helpful and open to those who need help, but also make the course engaging and interesting while fulfilling the course’s objectives. Finally, the teacher should follow certain standards of professionalism. Some examples are given below:
- Openness. An instructor may sometimes lose connection with his audience. A question from the audience is an opportunity to reconnect and be open to the audience’s needs. The question should be answered while showing interest to the student in need. This develops mutual trust: the question is answered but also the students are invited to question more often and be active in the learning process.
- Engaging. Whether a standard or a specialized course, an introductory seminar, or written teaching material, a teaching method should be inviting and engaging. For instance, the most enjoyable texts I have come across might have fun exercises, short critical questions, extra snippets of information, etc. I often interact with my students in my lectures. This is done in an inviting manner, enhancing the learning experience.
- Professionalism. A lecturer should prepare his lecture with the requisite professionalism. For instance, in the courses at LUMS, in addition to the syllabus, I designed my own exercises, exams, and lecturing slides. That way, I could control finely the courses’ pace, attending to the particular needs of the class, etc. Professionalism during teaching inspires trust from the students to the teacher, which ultimately aids the learning experience. The feedback from my students was exceptionally positive. Furthermore, they also performed above average.
My objective as an instructor is to motivate my students to develop their own learning interests and critical thinking to establish a learner-centered environment in the classroom. I choose content and activities that are both significant and challenging for the students so that they are stimulated to think “beyond” their comfort zone and feel involved in their own learning process.