Ontario’s most engaging professors reveal their secrets – Metro US

Ontario’s most engaging professors reveal their secrets

A great instructor can make learning come to life and Toronto and Ottawa schools are home to some of Canada’s finest. Metro caught up with some of the talented and passionate instructors recently nominated for TVO 2010 Best Lecturer Competition by their students to find out their teaching secrets.

Nadia Habib, York University
Humour goes a long way to helping York University professor Nadia Habib create a comfortable space for students to discuss tough ideas.

“Difficult ideas can be exciting. I like to create an atmosphere where people feel like the class is almost a private space and to be able to understand that the knowledge is yours, it doesn’t belong to the teacher, that’s a good thing for students to leave with.”

Sangita Dubey, Carleton University
Holistic teaching that goes beyond books and into the real world is Carleton economics instructor Sangita Dubey’s modus operandi and students love her way of making difficult concepts easy to understand.

“I’m always trying to find a logical approach and to not only teach a subject but show how it applies in the real world. For me it comes down to two things: Love your subject matter and care about your students,” Dubey said.

Sohail Rashid, Ryerson University
Energetic, animated and happy to talk your ear off, Ryerson psychology instructor Sohail Rashid considers his style of teaching “edutainment.”

“I think that to engage students you have to be entertaining. I’m a really shy person but in my performance mode I go far to the other side,” Rashid said.

David Gray, University of Ottawa
To command attention at all parts of the classroom, University of Ottawa professor David Gray keeps on his feet, walking around the class and using large gestures and a loud, almost exaggerated voice.

“I tend to be very flamboyant in class — sometimes in my evaluations my students say I’m spastic. I go for depth rather than breadth and I believe most of what I’m teaching is extremely useful for students,” Gray said

Monika Havelka, University of Toronto
Biology can sometimes feel dry, so U of T professor Monika Havelka likes to demonstrate unusual processes personally, contorting herself in a comical run to show how a lizard might run on hind legs for instance.

“I like to make an ass of myself! I have an enormous amount of enthusiasm for my subject material.”