Teaching staff enhance skills at professional development session

Keeping students engaged is possibly one of the most challenging aspects of being a university lecturer. ATMC’s academic teaching staff attended a professional development session this week to learn about how they can develop their teaching technique and boost student engagement.

The session was run by ATMC’s Manager of Student Welfare Services and Coordinator of Academic Language and Learning, Dr Tania Honey, and ATMC Lecturer Natalie Fraser.

The interactive sessions were planned to allow academic staff to further enhance their teaching skills specifically with international students. “I want this to be an interactive session between all of us because we all have different teaching styles and we all have different ideas about how we can teach, and we all struggle with getting students engaged,” Tania said.

“One of the things about being a lecturer is being able to engage students and keeping them interested.”

Tania asked lecturers to introduce themselves and give the group a bit of information about their background and teaching style, before explaining what the session would cover.

“This academics resource session will go through three basic things; it’s about keeping students engaged, cultivating learning and valuable feedback,” she said.

The first exercise staff were given was to discuss with each other what makes a memorable or interesting lecture. Staff members gave examples of engaging lectures they recalled as students themselves and also mentioned lectures which were not the best.

Following Tania’s session, Natalie discussed with staff how to identify and assist students who may be at risk of failing or not attending classes. Natalie showed staff how to utilise learning management systems such as Learnline to track student progress and development.

ATMC offers a number of professional development sessions specifically for teaching staff throughout every semester on different categories according to disciplines. Tania said the recent session on student engagement was well received by all lecturers who attended.

“It gave the lecturers a good opportunity to talk about issues concerning students and how to deal with them when they are at risk,” Tania said.

“I think they enjoyed it and got a lot out it, the peer-to-peer sessions were very effective.”