Special Section: Metro Learning Curve
When Louis Cheng agreed to teach a course in business strategy at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (SCS), he accepted a couple of challenges with the role. This course and four others in the Canadian Business Management Certificate program are the first the school has offered in Cantonese. Plus, it’s the first time Cheng is teaching for the school.
But Cheng is not daunted by his new assignment. “I look forward to teaching. I’m not anxious about standing at the front of a class of 40 people, but I don’t want to disappoint them,” he says.
With an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Hong Kong, an MBA from the University of British Columbia, and a former student of U of T’s School of Continuing Studies, Cheng has seen a variety of teaching methods and has a pretty good idea of which ones work and which don’t. Much of what he’s learned he has put into practice in his role as an instructor of company-run professional development courses.
“It’s all about motivation,” he says. “The good teachers keep students motivated. The key is to encourage participation in class and make sure we provide honest feedback.”
For Cheng, the worst professor he has would simply repeat what the textbook said. “It was one-way communication, and we decided there was no need to come to class, we just had to read the book,” he says.
Like Cheng, Hussein Amad, who teaches enterprise risk management and business management at SCS, believes keeping students engaged in learning makes him a better instructor.
“The business world is continuously changing,” he says. “What we teach must relate to today’s problems and issues. Students are more effective if they can relate their textbook material to current business problems and solutions.
“If teaching keeps me awake at night, it’s when I think of an idea or a project that students will find interesting.”
For more on the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, visit www.learn.utoronto.ca.