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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 7 | May 2, 2002

Teaching the Teachers

Educators hone their skills.

By Hilary Thomson

A week before 5,000 UBC students step on stage to receive their degrees, a small and unique group of grads will be recognized for their commitment to learning.

They are the 22 participants -- the largest class ever -- in the UBC Faculty Certificate Program on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education who will receive their certificates from UBC President Martha Piper at a ceremony to be held May 15.

The program, sponsored by the Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth (TAG), is designed to help faculty members and graduate students develop a scholarly approach to university teaching.

"The best thing about this program is that it has depth," says Gary Poole, director of TAG. "It reminds us that good teaching requires a considerable commitment."

Preparing faculty members to function effectively in a learner-centred environment is one of the strategies of Trek 2000, the university's vision statement.

Now in its fourth year, the UBC program is one of the most comprehensive programs in Canada and the list of those interested in participating stands at more than 100.

Participants have a range of teaching experience -- first-time lecturers to award-winning teachers -- and come from every faculty. "One of the strongest elements of the program is the opportunity for participants to engage in in-depth conversations with colleagues about teaching and to learn from each other," says Poole.

Integrating theory and practice with 150 hours of interactive modular workshops, the program includes discussion and analysis and independent professional development activities. Participants conduct what Poole calls 'teaching anthropology' or visiting colleagues' classes to investigate other teaching cultures.

"The program allows you to sit back and re-think your approach to teaching, from the philosophy behind teaching to practical techniques in the class," says participant Stephen Ward, associate professor in the School of Journalism. "The peer feedback is exciting, supportive and challenging. You leave the program with this huge motivation to continue along the path to being the best educator that you can be."

To graduate, participants must demonstrate a scholarly approach to teaching through a teaching portfolio, self-reports, classroom research, teaching presentations and peer feedback. Participation in all aspects of the program is also required.

Program co-ordinator and Education Asst. Prof. Harry Hubball follows up with graduates annually to determine where the learning has aided their development as a teacher and affected their students' academic experience.

For more information on the program, contact Hubball at (604) 822-9218.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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