It was the Uni of Adelaide Festival of Learning and Teaching last week, and as always there was a string of people telling us about the great things they’re doing with their teaching. As much as it can get a bit weary sitting through presentations all day, I really do love seeing that there are people excited about doing their best for student learning.
There are two of these people that I want to hold up high as a shining example, and they are Catherine Snelling and Sophie Karanicolas from the School of Dentistry. They have won all these awards for their good teaching, but this is not what I think is the exciting thing. The exciting thing is that they did it through good old fashioned giving it a go.
They thought it would be a good idea to have videos for their students to view, and they didn’t wait for a professional to shoot it for them or to have professional voice training, they just set up a camera and recorded themselves at the whiteboard. They thought it would be a good idea to have students talk to them online, and they didn’t bother to build a whiz-bang tool to do so, they just found out where their students already were on Facebook. Finally, they thought it would be good for the students to see detailed diagrams of dental anatomy, and they didn’t go out to buy fancy state-of-the-art teaching tools, but simply drew really good diagrams in colour on the board.
When you listen to these two people speak you can tell they love to help students learn and that they believe that anything is possible. It was impossible for me not to be inspired by their infectious can-do attitude.
You can do good teaching. Just give it a go!