Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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2009 Outstanding Teaching Award (OTA)

Mr Jason Forbes CARLOW
Department of Architecture

I believe in…

Teaching design involves fostering a student’s ability to be critical, curious and to address ill-defined problems. Architecture is taught through guided experimentation and critique. A good design teacher must recognize the strongest ideas within a student’s work and help him or her to form those ideas into clear architectural concepts. Through open conversation and carefully framed questions one must try to let the student discover which concepts are strong in the project and which need development. A teacher must challenge a student’s work, but also allow and encourage his own opinions to be challenged.

A student must develop a design methodology, a way of approaching and attacking any problem, no matter how abstract. Architectural problems are often open-ended and have no exact solution or ‘correct’ answer. A design project can only be judged by how well it defines a precise set of issues, demonstrates an understanding of those issues, and develops a methodology for addressing those issues. The process of design requires testing. Teaching emphasis must be placed on the development of the process, not the product.

In a creative discipline such as architecture, risk taking must be encouraged and rewarded so that students break conventions and find new ground. In the discussion of a project a teacher should spend an equal amount of time discussing both the successes and failures. A student should not be afraid to make mistakes, for in mistakes there are opportunities. An errant line or crudely constructed model may hold the key to a new form, pattern or process. I try to encourage students to find mistakes with potential and then capitalize upon them in the development of a project. Students should be taught to recognize the difference between a mistake of carelessness and a mistake of naïveté. Carelessness is not productive, though innovation requires a willingness to be naïve.

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Dr Chris CHAN Wai Hong
School of Business

I believe in…

I am a passionate believer in making a lasting difference in students’ lives. The journey begins with motivating our students’ minds and attitude to learn and to take ownership of learning, followed by the dissemination to them of knowledge and skills, leading to the achievement of their goals, pressing ahead with a vision of life-long improvement, and graduating with a re-defined outlook/approach on their professional and even personal lives.

I believe in collaboration with students as distinctive individuals. I believe respect begets respect, professionalism begets professionalism, and a smile is reciprocated with a smile.

Stretching my students’ world, I help them reach beyond their comfort zones, to test their limits. Hearts and minds seek knowledge and fulfilment within the tangent of my students’ horizons. Once those horizons are challenged and stretched, visions are cleared and minds are transformed.

I believe that when I care enough about my students’ experiences and their achievements, they will also care enough to share how they think I may improve. Their heartfelt criticisms renew my passion to interest, to excite, to motivate, and to educate. My ultimate aim is to creatively shape and re-shape thinking and change minds. But I must first re-shape mine.

My colleagues and friends ask me what is at the root of my passion and love for teaching, and for making a difference in my students’ lives. I would take a moment and share following simple lyrics to summarize my contemplation:

用你心 來盡握一生一世 未來才愉快 昨天那無知小孩 珍惜你尚有這份情懷

Conduct a life of heartfelt passion, make a difference, and bring joy to others
Reminisce on my days as a youth, cherish and treasure all that is innocent and virtuous

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Professor Sophia CHAN Siu Chee
Department of Nursing Studies

I believe in…

My teaching philosophy guides my own teaching practices as well as my work in developing nursing education as Head of Department (HoD).

Teacher as a facilitator: I firmly believe "The teacher is no longer merely the one-who- teaches, but one who is himself in dialogue with the students, who in their turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow” (Paulo Freire, 1972: 53). I believe learners are not an empty vase and my goal as a teacher is to facilitate the students’ learning rather than just dispensing knowledge and information. I believe effective teaching and learning take place when students find interests in the subject and motivated to learn.

Student as lifelong learner: One of the guiding principles in my teaching is to encourage and assist the student in acquiring life-long learning skills in order to be able to manage the explosion of information and cope with the ever-changing world in science and medicine. Thus I used a variety of teaching strategies such as problem-based learning (PBL) to stimulate and maximize the students’ interest and to enhance participation. I also initiated the use of ‘Clinical PBL’ for nursing students aiming to improve their critical thinking and problem- solving ability in the clinical setting.

Preparing nurses for the future: With the advancement of medical and information technology; knowledge expansion and globalization, the scope and science of nurses’ practice is changing and expanding in response to the rapid changes. Nurses must be equipped with knowledge and skills that are not only appropriate for the present, but also for the future. Other than the technical competence, they must adopt a scientific approach in their care, and work in teams with other health care professionals to attain excellence in achieving patients’ goals. I believe nursing education should encompass elements of biological, behavioural, as well as nursing science. Nursing students should be motivated to learn the philosophy of science, and its application to biology, human behaviours, and nursing. In addition, the practice of therapeutic communication and nursing skills is critical to achieve clinical competence and quality of care. The nursing curriculum is thus designed to strike a careful balance to nurture students with scientific minds, caring hearts, and skilful hands.

Future directions: Further to my previous work on developing clinical PBL, I hope to be able to contextualize the findings, and develop an evidence-based clinical experiential learning model with a clinical curricular map to guide the students’ learning experiences and learning outcomes, in an ever changing complex clinical environment. Hopefully, this model can be further disseminated to other nurse educators in Hong Kong, China, and beyond.

The Department of Nursing Studies has a strong mission to educate leaders and prepare the nursing workforce for Hong Kong. Although we are a relatively young department, we are well connected locally, nationally, and internationally to experts who can be drawn on to provide professional and academic input and we continue to achieve excellence in nursing education and benchmark with top international institutions. As a leading Department of Nursing Studies in Hong Kong and China, we aspire to be a world leading School of Nursing in the years to come.

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Professor David LUNG Ping Yee
Department of Architecture

I believe in…

“Wishing to be established himself, he seeks also to establish others; wishing to be broadened himself, he seeks also to broaden others 己欲立而立人,己欲達而達人 .”

This quotation from The Analects《論語》 , meaning helping other people to achieve what I wish to achieve for myself, sums up the principles and philosophy of my teaching.

Professor Wang Gungwu, HKU’s 11th Vice-Chancellor, once told me that it did not matter what degree a student read in university; what mattered was how well he or she served society. Professor Wang’s 159th HKU Congregation Address (1987) had a profound influence on me. I was a young teacher then and attracted to Professor Wang’s lofty ideals in education, which, in turn, have become mine:

“As China reaches out to the rest of the modern world, dramatic changes are bound to come to us in Hong Kong…What… China will itself contribute to the world lies in front of us and is yet unknown. But one thing should be clear to those of us in universities as also to those of you who are its products — education that opens our minds and brings out the potential in all of us will play a vital role in this reaching out… And using our knowledge to nourish the minds and lives of people is surely one of the great aims of a university.”

In other words, my role as a teacher is not only to disseminate knowledge in classrooms, but to set an exemplary role model for students, to encourage them to be civic minded and to be ready to make contributions to society with what they have learnt. I share my values and experience with students, whether they are currently attending university or have left, but the same time, I keep abreast of their opinions and remind myself constantly to be humble and to learn from them. Teaching and learning mutually enhance each other.

Learning how to teach and learning how to be innovative in teaching is a continual process. A quotation from Xueji, a 2,000-year-old text on teaching and learning summarizes my experience: “One discovers one’s deficiencies through learning; one finds out one’s difficulties through teaching. In recognizing deficiencies, one is able to reflect on oneself; in overcoming difficulties, one is able to develop oneself. Therefore, it is said that teaching and learning are mutually enhancing 學然後知不足,教然後知困,知不足然後能自反也,知困 然後能自強也,故曰教學相長也.” (Xueji in Book of Rites《禮記.學記》).

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Dr YIU Siu Ming
Department of Computer Science

The comments from students, “the lecturer cares a lot on students’ learning progress”, “he knows what the students need and understands students’ difficulties”, “he is able to stimulate our interest to further explore (the topics)”, summarize the teaching philosophy of Dr Yiu. Dr Yiu, being a PhD graduate of the same department he is teaching now, was inspired and influenced by his former teachers on how to be a good teacher. He is very devoted in teaching and cares a lot about his students, not only on their academic performance, but also on their personal and career development. A student commented that he “got me into the computing world and taught me how to respect someone”. Dr Yiu spends a lot of effort to prepare lectures to motivate students to learn (e.g. using IQ questions, daily life examples), teaches them how to self-learn, and is willing to talk to students to help them overcome their problems of learning or other issues. He also helps to connect students to local IT companies for summer training and provides research opportunities to undergraduate students. Besides teaching, he is also actively involved in curriculum design, and exploring different teaching methodologies such as problem-based learning and outcome-based learning.

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