For the task of interviewing a colleague, I had a Q&A session with a childhood friend who now teaches at BCIT. Although his course is not continuous entry, I think his input is still very valuable. Below is an excerpt of the interview:
Q: Name and designation?
A: Mandeep Bains, CPA, CA (Chartered Professional Accountant)
Q: Institute and course name?
A: CPA Western School of Business (Course title – Intermediate Financial Reporting 1 – January to March 2016 session)
Q: Do you promote, or have strategies to promote a sense of community and communication in the classroom setting?
A: My strategy is to make sure that the classroom environment is a relaxed environment which helps to facilitate learning for students. Often I found that if students feel stressed when coming to the classroom then it makes it difficult for them to understand the concepts that are taught in the classroom. Within the classroom I also tried to make sure the students felt engaged and made sure they participated in active discussions. It is important to make sure that teacher is not standing in front of the classroom and is the only one talking. I also tried to incorporate real-life examples/ situations wherever possible (also talk about my own personal experiences). This way students can help feel more at ease.
Q: Do you use any digital aid that supports critical inquiry/thinking in your course?
A: For the course we had used PowerPoint slides to note the various content in the course. For specific examples I had students use Microsoft Excel to help solve various problems and solutions. Since the exam was going to be taken in Microsoft Word/ Excel I found it important to make sure that these platforms were used here.
Q: Have you noticed any different styles of learning from the students you have had, and do you have strategies to exploit their learning habits?
A: I noticed that students learn in many different styles and methods. For example I found some students learned when they certain topics/ concepts explained in a “one-to-one” setting. They had found it easier to ask questions when they were talking with me (one-to-one) rather than in a classroom setting. I also found that that many students appreciated when I went through specific examples to cover certain concepts. Often my strategy was to talk about the theoretical concepts first and then follow it up with a specific case/ example. This helped to reinforce the concept wherever possible.
Q: Provide your teaching methods or philosophy in a sentence or two.
A: A relaxed, engaged, interactive environment will go a long way to help students understand new concepts. Try to make sure that students know that your main purpose is to help them learn and you are on their side.
Some thoughts: the main key points he made, I feel I already apply in my teaching methods. In particular, I think making sure students know that you are on their side and that your main purpose is to help them learn, as opposed to only criticizing and marking their work, will go a long way in connecting with them. Using specific case studies and real life examples after introducing a theoretical concept is also a method I have found to be very helpful.