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The seven practices of an inspiring teacher

21 September 2012

Prof Hay giving insights on the characteristics of an educator

What makes a great university lecturer? This was the question posed by Professor Iain Hay of Flinders University, South Australia, during the Educator-in-Residence Programme (EiRP) - Ruth Wong Memorial Lecture on Education 2012 on 20 September. The EiRP is an NUS Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL) initiative that aims to facilitate active exchanges between the NUS academic community and distinguished educators from around the world.

Prof Hay, who is this year's Educator-in-Residence at the CDTL, talked on "Opening Doors: Exploring the teaching practices of inspiring academics". He shared seven themes which characterised an inspiring teacher - the ability to move beyond failure, fear and uncertainty; the ability to reflect; realising teaching is greater than knowledge mastery; appreciating that learning is greater than teaching; acknowledging humanness; organising for risk and replicating; and improving on teaching.

Prof Hay also drew from the auto-ethnographic accounts of university teachers in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to uncover the circumstances and practices that have made them great teachers.

He later answered questions from the NUS teaching community such as balancing the time between research and teaching, applying the seven themes to NUS' learning environment, and the evolving relationship between a student and a teacher.

Prof Hay has taken up significant advisory roles in projects which enhance the scholarship of higher education teaching and learning. His many contributions to improving and promoting scholarly and creative teaching in his discipline have been recognised with accolades such as the Prime Minister's Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year in 2006, and the 2010 inaugural Association of American Geographers' E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award.