Staff at Challenger Institute of Technology in Beaconsfield WA recognised that funding changes for Australian education would require them to be better able to meet student expectations for high quality education. I was invited to work with their engineering lecturers to help them deliver more creative, industry-relevant classes, and to enhance the way they communicate with their students.
Education is more than teaching technical skills
I devised a half-day workshop to achieve these goals, based on my own experience as an engineer and educator.
The workshop called Education in engineering: making it relevant included:
- An overview of creative teaching methods
- Templates for designing industry-relevant lessons
- Methods for offering constructive feedback to students
- Practical experience of facilitative techniques, such as World Café and learning through play
We discussed positive impacts lecturers could have within a student’s career in the engineering industry, and how they could continue develop themselves as educators in a constantly changing environment.
The lecturers recognised that their teaching provides not just technical skills, but the capacity to work safely and confidently in the professional world.
Surprise learning about collaboration and their colleagues
While the workshop contained examples of creative teaching techniques, the real focus was on each lecturer coming up with their own ideas and sharing them. When asked about the most valuable learnings in lesson planning and student feedback they said:
“Hearing the opinions of colleagues about various aspects of delivery”
“Learning new tools for delivery and assessment”
And how this would change their work in the future:
“I will communicate with other team members (staff) regarding how my content relates to all units.”
“I will recognised that I understand what I’m talking about, but students may not.”
Engineering lecturers impress, with their dedicated approach to developing themselves as educators
My closeout report included recommendations of ways to continuously developing the teaching skills of those in the engineering team who were enthusiastic to learn, based on the interests and capacities I had seen in the group.
Checking in with the Challenger TAFE client three months later, they said said that there had been a turnaround in the team following the workshops. All the recommendations for collaborative learning had been implemented.
There has been a turnaround in the engineering team since your workshop. They have recognised that structured professional development is not the only way to learn and have implemented informal ways to share information about developing as educators. They have developed new communications channels and set up a mentor-buddy system. I think your session helped them see that they have the skills to do this themselves.
(Michelle Dodd, Manager Learning and Development, Challenger Institute of Technology)
Continuous innovation in education delivery
When educators understand the purpose of their work and feel empowered to build their own skills, they can continue to develop and meet the challenges of a changing environment sector.
While this course was devised specifically for engineers, the tools and techniques are applicable to range of educators and sectors. Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the options for your team.