Great Teaching

“Alright” teaching is common in our Australian universities, but great teaching is becoming a rarity. The endless levels of accountability, surveys, formal feedback, mentoring and multiple levels of reporting proliferate in Australian universities, and promote “alright” teaching, but it’s hard to pin down what makes a great teacher, and bureaucracy isn’t one of the key facilitating conditions. While there are many different styles, and different ways that great teaching is manifest, it is probably born, but one can work at it too. One such teacher who has possessed both the “born” qualities of empathy toward students and true excitement about knowledge together with the acquired qualities of educational technique and masterful experience is Dr. Diane Collins. A recipient of a prestigious individual Carrick Award for Teaching, Collins has just completed two decades teaching history as a general studies requirement at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music. Her students have given her many tributes, including a standing ovation at her last first-year lecture, to a packed hall on June 1, 2010. I think her achievements deserve to be widely known.

Dr Diane Collins, 1 June 2010

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