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JM | Sep 30, 2022

A PhD does not make you a teacher: UWI, Mona principal urges educator development

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

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Professor Dale Webber, principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus. (Photo: mona.edu.jm)

Professor Dale Webber, principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, is urging teachers and other universities to improve on their teaching skills, noting that a PhD is not enough to make a quality teacher.

Webber was speaking at the virtual Vice Chancellor Forum yesterday (September 29) where he shared that technology has already given students access to information.

“It is therefore not so much the content that is important, but how that content is delivered, how that content is changed and how it is assimilated. This is what makes the difference in effectiveness,” said Webber.

“A PHD does not a teacher make. Many of us who are experts in our field need to be hound in how we teach and what we teach so that we are better able to communicate with our students.”

Professor Dale Webber, Principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona

In recognition of this, Webber said The UWI started the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), a 30-year-old programme dedicated to faculty development.

He added that, often, when lecturers attend seminars at CETL, they come with the thought process that they already know how to teach, but that may not be the case.

To be a quality teacher means to be constantly learning, reaffirming what you know and being open to knowing what you do not, said Webber.

“A world-class university such as ours is one where the teachers teach and the students learn. But sometimes the teachers are the learners and the students become the teachers. We must be able to learn regardless of where we start, what we think to be content, knowledge or continuous redevelopment,” said Webber.

He further charged faculty members at the forum to think about the key focal areas of teaching, namely who they are teaching, how they wish to be engaged and how the education package can be made more valuable to them.

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