Nurturing individual student success - Ara Teaching Awards

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Nurturing individual student success - Ara Teaching Awards

The 11 winners, chosen by a cross-institutional panel, shared their student-centered approaches to teaching in a series of videos played at the event.

“Really get to know your learners. Teaching how we were taught doesn’t meet the needs of our individual learners. Taking some time to get to know them, what works for them and what their learning styles are, really pays off in terms of engagement and success for our learners,” award winner Anna Williams, from the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health, said.

“Students are unique individuals, they have their own learning styles, their own way of starting the day. The first thing I learnt when I came to Ara is that there is a lot of heart for the students here,” observed Outstanding New Teacher Phillip Roxborogh from the Department of Computing.

Melissa Hanses, from the Department of Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health, also an Outstanding New Teacher, believes “teaching is an art. It’s not about telling people what you know, it’s about learning where people are at, meeting people where they are at from an education and emotional standpoint, and being able to take them from that point to where they want to go.”

“Be yourself,” she advised.

“That’s the thing that students connect with the most. I am pretty enthusiastic about my role and what I can bring and I think that translates into students also getting excited about what possibilities they can achieve.”

Celebrating different levels of success was also important, Department of Computing’s Peter Edge, recognised for enhancing learning through industry connection said. “Some students find success easily, while others are still finding their way - their success is really important and needs to be celebrated as well.”

“Get to know your students really quickly,” he advised. “If you don’t know who is in front of you, you can’t assess what you have to do to reach them and teach the whole group.”

Alex McAllum, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health, accepts an award for outstanding leadership of teaching and learning.

“You need to influence not dominate,” Stan Tawa, Department of Hospitality and Service Industries said. “It is very easy as a teacher to dominate and say ‘this is the way we are doing things’, but it is better for learners to take the journey themselves. I want to ensure that they have self-belief.”

Timaru-based Wally Katene from the Department of Hospitality and Service Industries agreed. “Respect for the individual, the differences, you build that relationship up. One thing I have learned over the years is that individual learning plans will help that.”

Students come with a variety of learning styles, some of which might have failed them previously, observed Timaru-based colleague Trudy Gee, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health, also awarded for outstanding tertiary teaching and learning.

“I like… to show them that they have the ability to learn more, that there are different ways of learning, that not everybody learns the same, and for them to encounter different experiences and take away different skills. I talk about a tool box and to fill their tool box with… ways to learn new information but also process information and recall information. I want them to know it’s OK to fail, but to have a go. We are all learning.”

Adam Hollingworth, Department of Business, and Alex McAllum, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health, both recognised for outstanding leadership of teaching and learning, acknowledged challenges in contemporary teaching practice.

“It’s such an exciting time that we are working in as teachers or educators. We have not only seen a ubiquitous proliferation of technology all through education but we have also seen a major transformation from being more didactic in our teaching mode to being facilitators of learning. I think those two things are quite exciting, but also really challenging as well,” McAllum said.

"Students should be at the center

of everything we do"

“I think it’s important to remember that the students who join us make huge sacrifices to be here and that they should be at the center of everything we do,” Hollingworth said.  

“Education is challenging,” he added, noting increasing pressure from society, changing modes of delivery to blended and online, the increase of technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and learners with different ages, cultures, experience and backgrounds. “While they are challenges, I also see them as opportunities to do things that we have never done before.”

Mark Kingston, Department of Trades, was an early adopter of the lightboard technology, which includes video content that learners can watch at home. “They often look at something that is complicated that they need to learn and if they don’t understand it the first time they can quickly put a wall up. It is very important that you explain to a student that they are not expected to learn something straight away, that they need to come back to it and they need to practice.”

Ara’s focus on nurturing individual student journeys and success shone through throughout the awards.

“I’d like to pass on how important it is to take time, to connect with people to build relationships and to hear peoples’ stories. I’ve learnt to never make assumptions, to always expect the unexpected,” Kath Harrison, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health, recognised for enhancing learning through industry connection, said.

Students also had their turn to celebrate their favourite tutors – see results below.

Teaching and Learning Awards - the winners are:

For outstanding leadership of teaching and learning:

  • Adam Hollingworth from the Department of Business
  • Alex McAllum from the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health

For recognition of your journey towards excellence

  • Anna Williams from the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health

For enhancing learning through industry connection

  • Kath Harrison from the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health
  • Peter Edge from the Department of Computing

For outstanding tertiary teaching and learning

  • Mark Kingston from the Department of Trades
  • Trudy Gee from the Department of Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health
  • Stan Tawa from the Department of Hospitality and Service Industries
  • Wally Katene from the Department of Hospitality and Service Industries

For recognition as an outstanding new teacher

  • Phillip Roxborogh from the Department of Computing
  • Melissa Hanses from the Department of Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health

Student awards:

The Supporting Hand Award (provides advice and follow up, listens and goes above and beyond)

  • Wendy Clarke from Design and Photography, Department of Creative Industries

The Overall Excellence Award (excels in all areas of our teaching and learning and falls into multiple award categories)

  • Deborah Marshall from Design and Photography, Department of Creative Industries

“The Pro” Award (liked by students; an expert in their field; uses their knowledge and translates it to make it relevant to what the students are learning).

  • Stefan Roberts from Design and Photography, Department of Creative Industries

The Class of Culture Award (celebrates diversity, acknowledges the different cultures of students and appreciates diversity in the classroom)

  • Jimi McKay from Social Work, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health

The Assessment Ace Award (always returns assessments within two weeks and provides constructive and helpful feedback on how to improve)

  • Dr Dorle Pauli from Contextual Studies, Department of Creative Industries.

The Moodle Master Award (provides a site where the layout is clear and easy to follow, all material is kept up-to-date and is easy to find)

  • Takahiro Yokoyama from Japanese, Department of Humanities

The Tech Guru Award (uses interactive media including videos on Moodle, kahoot and other tech based learning as well as phones and devices in class)

  • Mariechen Ngarotata from Maori & Indigenous Studies, Department of Humanities