Don Samarasinghe - Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (via ILP), May 2019
I am Don Samarasinghe, a full-time lecturer in construction at Otago Polytechnic’s Auckland International Campus. I undertook the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (GDTE) to develop my teaching practice. Through completing this qualification, I have become a more confident practitioner. I learnt about effective learning and teaching strategies, designing and delivering inclusive curriculum to address the diverse needs of learners.
Capable NZ provided me with an excellent service. My facilitator (Jeremy Taylor) helped support and guided me to equip myself with relevant knowledge and skills. I chose the ILP pathway which involved gathering evidence of practice experiences and developing case studies to show that I met the attributes based on the Graduate Profile.
I discovered that I have transformed into a class facilitator who is far different from the educator I was before completing the GDTE. I think now my presence in the class is warmer and much more relaxed. I acknowledge each student and they, in turn, support my teaching. I use more experiential learning activities integrated into my teaching style to bring greater levels of student engagement. Students are given opportunities to ask questions and get clarity.
In my current teaching role, I have become a person who regularly reflects on feedback received from my students. I believe that making students feel comfortable, safe and inclusive promotes more effective learning. I am confident that learners effectively learn through experiential learning. I practice formative assessment of summative assessment tasks to promote assessment for learning. I also believe that reflection supports sustainable education. My vision in my teaching career is to become an example of an educator who is knowledge-driven, research-active, creative, personable and supportive. I hope to incorporate the currency of industry practices to the curriculum by becoming a construction industry consultant shortly.
Brookfield (2017) mentions that the purpose of critical reflection is to challenge our assumptions and to be open to adapting our beliefs through ongoing evaluation. Having seen Don develop over the course of the past year I can confirm that Don demonstrated a highly reflective approach and as such the change in Don and his teaching approach has been considerable. It has been clear to me that his students have immensely benefited from these changes and his classes contain a greater sense of energy and fun. It was especially pleasing and interesting to see the transformation that happened to Don and on his practice. Over the course of the qualification Don became an accomplished reflective practitioner and his development will undoubtedly keep improving due to the skills learned with Capable NZ over the last 10-months.