Faten Alshazly recalls the days when education used to be top-down and classroom lectures were a uni-directional style of listening to lectures and taking notes.
“It’s not just pushing information, but allowing them to share what they know and learn from different experience and experimental exercises that we go through in class,” said the professor at Dalhousie University’s faculty of business management.
Having taught at the Halifax, N.S.-based university for almost five years now, Alshazly understands the importance of creating a dynamic learning environment that suits the individual learning preferences of each student.
“I don’t believe in the old system of teaching,” she said. “I believe in tailoring education to the needs of each student.”
For instance, for those technically inclined learners, Alshazly uses a learning management system, Blackboard, to let students collaborate and learn on the Web.
“That helped me to gear towards the different kinds of learners,” said Alshazly. “Some are comfortable to be face-to-face, some are comfortable to be online.”
Alshazly is also a mentor to her students, who are a mix of professionals, graduate students and mature learners, for whom the memory of an academic setting is further removed. “Some of these folks the last time they’d been in a classroom was 15 years back,” she said.
So, what does she love about teaching? It’s the satisfaction of having a student approach her in the hallway and express heartfelt gratitude for the learning experience, said Alshazly.
“It becomes really personal … you feel you make them learn something they can carry outside the classroom,” she said.