I’ve been fortunate to have experienced various teaching and learning approaches during my life in academia, which have helped me to improve my own, in the quest for producing knowledgeable and skilled professionals. I follow the active learning approach, in which students are at the centre of their learning experiences, and instructors facilitate, through their topics, tools, and activities, the environment for their education.
In my discipline of software engineering, the core of a professional is to solve problems with the use of technology, such as software. With this in mind, I try to help my students to develop a combination of skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork; which apply to all areas of engineering. More importantly, with the various technologies and the rapid changes in the demands of the world, students who take the challenge of becoming engineers need skills that will help them keep up with it. This is why I feel that by putting the focus on the development of the skills, we prepare professionals capable of learning proactively and autonomously what will be required over time. The methods, topics, languages and tools that we as instructors use to teach our course should provide the foundations for a growing learning experience.
I always try to find in my classes, a way to have a type of problem that needs to be solved, as a project, a series of assignment, or an in-class activity that iterates with lectures. In some cases, I’ve provided the problem, or I encouraged students to find their own. Regardless, I try to make it a real-world type of a problem. Part of my philosophy is to use the time of the class to engage students in discussions, activities that reinforce the previously learned topics and keep a connection with the overall learning goal of the course by pointing out the learning outcome.
I believe that there are other places aside from the classroom where instructors we can help students in the development of the professional skills. In my philosophy, teaching doesn’t happen exclusively in the classroom. I like to get involved with students in activities that are part of their learning experiences.