This is how I teach

This month we spoke to Dr Hayley McGrice, Assoc. Dean Learning Quality (SET) and Senior Lecturer with the School of Animal and Veterinary Science. Hayley also serves as the ADEPT Program Academic Lead and will be joining the AEA Executive Committee in May. Here Hayley speaks about the value of peer collaboration in student learning and her desire to inspire and support her colleagues.

How would you describe your approach to teaching and your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy revolves around inspiring students to develop their own thirst for knowledge. The immense amount of information that students now have at their fingertips has seen our role as educators shift towards teaching students how to analyse the integrity of information, apply their knowledge to real-life examples and become lifelong learners. Students are not cups to be filled with knowledge. I believe students learn more effectively through collaboration with their peers and, this philosophy has led me to embrace and implement pedagogies such as Team-based learning (TBL), peer assisted learning and group discovery learning projects in all of my courses. I also firmly believe students will learn more effectively if they can identify their own mistakes and therefore, have incorporated self-directed learning, self-correction and peer assessment in my teaching activities. The pedagogy by which I plan and conduct my teaching activities focuses on inspiring students to want to learn by encouraging them to be accountable, not only to themselves, but also to their peers and the lecturer. The aim is to establish the required skills for them to become lifelong learners, who will work and learn effectively throughout their future careers, both as individuals and in team situations.


What do you like most about teaching in your discipline?

I am extremely lucky to be involved in teaching Animal and Veterinary science students at the Roseworthy Campus. With approx 1000 students, 200 of which live on campus, studying in 5 relatively small programs, Roseworthy really does have a unique family feel.  Our students are highly engaged in academic, extra-curricular and sporting activities and I absolutely love getting involved in student led events such as the annual Waite vs Roseworthy Netball match and the Adelaide Veterinary Students Association Vet Ball.  Overseas experiences such as a study tours through Indonesia and working with Cosi’s Cows for Cambodia Charity have truly been life changing and I am forever grateful to the colleagues who gave me these opportunities and the students with which I shared these experiences.

My second love is working with educators from across all faculties as part of the ADEPT program. Providing professional development opportunities for all staff involved in teaching through facilitating workshops with Dr Beth Loveys is very rewarding.  We aim to inspire colleagues to try new and engaging approaches in their teaching practice but, honestly, we are also constantly learning from the participants as they inspire new ideas and approaches for us.


How does your teaching help prepare students for their future?

Using contextual examples of animal health is a fantastic way to engage students in subjects that are traditionally considered dry. Nutritional disorders, genetic conditions and pharmacological approaches to improving animal health provide a wealth a material to build engaging activities for students to work in small groups to solve.  It helps to them to see the importance of fundamental scientific concepts and their future careers and industry whilst also developing their critical thinking, problem solving and clinical reasoning skills which will be very important in their future careers. Helping students to develop and master their group work skills is also a key learning outcome of my courses. All of our students will all be required to work with a diverse range of people throughout their careers and by giving them multiple opportunities to practice and refine these skills, further sets them up for a success


What is your favourite way to use technology to enhance learning? 

During face to face lectures and active learning workshops I use online interactive tools like Mentimeter to allow students to contribute to class discussions and test their knowledge.  Breaking up didactic lectures with short activities that either test students understanding of threshold concepts, or challenge them to extend their knowledge and respond to questions or scenarios anonymously, improves their level of engagement and adds to the vibe in the classroom.  Creating an environment that is conducive to learning and giving students a safe environment to ‘just have a go’ is the aim of the game after all!!

When developing pre-reading packages and online lectures I use lecture recording technologies such as the live key feature and the learning glass to create recordings that feature a person and not just a voice over PowerPoint. I thoroughly enjoy recording the lectures which are always unscripted and fraught with me correcting and laughing at myself as I attempt be an effective ‘weather lady’ and point to the correct parts of the slides.  Let’s just say I am yet to master the live key green screen functions!

Tagged in #this is how I teach, Hayley McGrice