Engagement and Involvment Craig Thomson , School of Computing , Associate Fellow
“ True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross ; then , having facilitated their crossing , joyfully collapse , encouraging them to create their own .”
( Nikos Kazantzakis )
It was quite a while ago now , but I can still remember the teachers at school who inspired me and those who only inspired sleep ! I have more recent experience of college and then as an undergrad at university – and yet I am still left with similar feelings . It always comes down to those who , though no doubt well-meaning , seek to lecture and those who seek to teach . I have very much carried these influences into my own foray into teaching . Where merely lecturing simply provides you as nothing more than a talking textbook , the opportunities to engage students by other means are both endless and fascinating .
Now as a PhD student and Associate Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University I have had the opportunity to implement different techniques . Especially so when I was teaching university pathway students at Edinburgh International College . I am drawn to Active Learning techniques , trying to make students feel part of something more than just a class . I have even involved the students in presenting the class , utilising Experiential Learning . As such , I have found that having students solve problems in front of the class naturally brings involvement from the other students and a group culture can grow organically . When a student sits alone , solving a problem , that brief moment of satisfaction on completion is brief . When this is shared with others it is magnified . There are smiles . The feeling lasts . In this way the Zone of Proximal Development may be bridged more effectively , with the students realising they are part of a group and able to solve problems with less involvement from their lecturer .
It was a major highlight to see all my international students get into Edinburgh Napier in second year , and for some to still come to me for help beyond the classroom .