Am I doing enough?

By Saleema Gulzar

It is nearly impossible to pinpoint any single teaching principle that may have the most profound impact on a student’s learning. I trust that all teaching and learning principles are equally impactful if applied consciously and purposively. However, after attending a refresher course on “online inclusive teaching” one of the principles has immediately grabbed my attention and I believe it is important to view it critically from an educator’s lens, i.e., “reflect on your beliefs about teaching to maximize self-awareness and commitment to inclusion”.

This principle of teaching allows and encourages an educator to examine their assumptions and views through self-reflection. I often tend to ask myself many questions. For example, is online teaching a useful or appropriate modality in promoting self-directed learning? If so, what role do I play for my students to promote self-directed learning? How can I engage my students in a meaningful way that they can be independent learners? Am I doing enough to prepare my students as sound, ethical, and committed professionals?

Unfortunately, the indigenous education system of Pakistan generally does not support self-directed learning which is not only a harsh reality but also a point to ponder upon for academicians. What and where are the gaps in the system and how can they be filled to create a truly empowering education system.

Looking at the flip side, most of our students, especially in nursing come from humble backgrounds where teachers are considered the epitome of knowledge and students, empty buckets. In an education system like this, where power relations exist, can we truly promote self-directed learning utilizing online pedagogies?

Some might argue that it is all in our mindsets, but in my opinion, transforming our being as an educator can be a game-changer in the entire spectrum of teaching and learning, with constant, conscious efforts from micro, meso to macro levels being paramount.

As aforementioned, one must begin with own self. That is the very reason I keep challenging my teaching practices and learn from my students and colleagues. While teaching, I seek to provide intellectual space to students to reflect and come up with ideas in a course, encouraging out-of-the-box thinking, but despite all of that I still ask myself, am I doing enough?

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Saleema Gulzar

Saleema Gulzar

Educator, Researcher, School Health Advocator-Strengths: eLearning, Digital Health, Public Health, School Health Promotion, Adolescents’ Health