Carmen Leung crowned DALChampion
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Dawson Active Learning Community (DALC) has named some of its faculty members “DALChampions” in honour of their extraordinary contributions to innovating the classroom experience.
DALC is a group of teachers from various disciplines that strives to improve teaching and learning through Active Learning (AL) pedagogical practices, and the development, design, and effective use of complementary educational technologies.
This week, we invited DALChampion Carmen Leung (Chemistry and Continuing Education Department) to talk about her experience with the community of practice.
Tell us about your experience with DALC. What has been the best part?
C.L: When I started out as a new teacher at Dawson, I was in Continuing Education and had little interactions with other teachers. When I discovered DALC, I met a wonderful community of faculty members who were very welcoming and supportive. It was through their mentorship program that I found the guidance I needed to explore active learning. Since then, I have really appreciated the interactions and discussions I’ve had with the members; I have learned so much! The best part of DALC is truly the people.
How do you think active learning pedagogy enriches the learning experience?
C.L.: Active learning gets the students more focused and engaged during class, and it helps to make their learning experience more meaningful, especially in an active learning classroom. It gives them opportunities to participate in group and/or class discussions, a chance to apply their new knowledge in class, and receive feedback from their peers and teacher directly. It also gives students a chance to interact with one another to develop some “chemistry,” which may lead to the start of their own community of support outside of the classroom.
How has adopting an active learning approach informed your practice?
C.L.: What I’ve discovered is how important feedback is and active learning allows for this to happen in the classroom. By having students prepare for class ahead of time, more time can be spent during class to practice what they’ve learned and focus on the topics that are more difficult. When going over the student/group work, not only am I able to provide immediate feedback to my students, so can their peers. The feedback also goes both ways. As a teacher, I’m able to gauge the students’ level of understanding and identify possible misconceptions, and peers can assess whether the feedback they are sharing is in line with others. It’s usually a win-win for all!