Yuan shares more detail about their practice us and how they felt about being shortlisted for a Bristol Teaching Award.
- Which Award were you shortlisted for?
Inspiring and Innovative Teaching Award – PGRs Who Teach
- How did you feel when you found out you had been shortlisted for an Award?
I was really glad and honored when I found that I have been shortlisted. I have been in Bristol as a PhD student for three years, and I have spent two years as a foundation lab demonstrator teaching physics experiments. I really like it.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your practice and why you were nominated?
I think I been shortlisted because of the teaching as a lab demonstrator and also a co-supervisor of one research-master student. As a lab demonstrator, I always prepared well prior to the class. Because it is a physics experiment class, I do not simply teach the students the knowledge and theory in their labbooks, but encourage them to understand the knowledge in the process of doing the experiments by themselves and discussing with others. At the same time, I don’t just tell them the ‘correct or right answer’, but encourage them to think and figure out them by themselves; for example, some students’ experimental results are deviated from the theoretical ones. I will first let them to make sure that the experiments were done strictly according to the experimental steps, I will then encourage them It was not bad but also a good discovery, and inspire them to go through the literatures and theories on their own, trying to find the reasons for the errors. This could encourage them and let them be interested in physics. I also welcome them to discuss with me after class, and students often email me after class. I think teaching them how to think and be interested in what they are learning and be able to actively explore is more important than grades. At the same time, I also actively interacted with the students in the experimental class. The students come from different countries and have different cultural backgrounds. I like to communicate with them, which can also broaden my horizons and let me learn more. The students also liked to talk with me. In the last class, some students took photos with me and said that I was the best demonstrator they had ever met. Some students thanked me after class, saying that I was very patient and enthusiastic. At the same time, as an co-supervisor for a master student, I also encourage him to think independently. Instead of simply reading the literature and doing experiments, I taught him how to read the literatures and extract useful information out. Also, I encouraged him to design some experiments independly. By doing these, he had a deeper understanding of his master project, and got good comments from the reviewers and supervisor in his Annual Progression Monitoring.
- What inspires you to go the extra mile with your teaching?
Firstly, I am a kind and out-going person, I like to talk and communicate with others. Secondly, if I do a job, I should take the responsibility and do that well. Also, I can gain a sense of achievement when I taught students new knowledge, especially encouraged and guided them find and gain the knowledge by themselves.
- What would you like to share with others about your teaching practice?
Do not hesitate to talk and communicate with the students and be kind, patient and enthusiastic to them. Always encourage them in learning and practice