Esther works hard at improving the quality of her teaching by reflecting on her practice, speaking with colleagues, attending professional learning opportunities and listening to her students. Supporting her students is one of Esther’s teaching strengths in the Bachelor of Clinical Science and Doctor of Medicine courses.
How does Esther support student learning?
Esther demonstrates interest and enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches, emphasizing their significance and relevance, encouraging student participation and ensuring that students’ contributions are valued and respected. For example, she makes a point of learning students’ names and interests so that they know she is invested in them as individuals. Knowing students personally allows Esther to discern how they learn, monitor their progress and personalise her feedback. Esther initiates conversations with her students, maintains an approachable and affable presence in class, and readily offers support for their learning. Esther’s personalised approach to teaching is recognised by her students with comments like the following:
Esther “make(s) an effort to communicate with individuals and groups of students as opposed to just talking to the entire class”, and Esther “made the effort to get to know all the students” and she “makes classes extremely enjoyable and fun to be a part of”.Student feedback for Dr Esther Lim
What do Esther’s students say about her?
In addition to practising effective communication, Esther also demonstrates the characteristics of an effective teacher described by Rogers (1994): respect, empathy, and genuineness. Her students describe her in feedback as “friendly and easy to talk to”, “genuinely caring”, “always offers help, suggestions and constructive feedback”, “cares about students and wants them to succeed”, “treated students with respect” and “always checking on how students were going”.
To support students’ learning, she plans activities using different modes and approaches that allow students to be creative, showcase different skill sets, foster independent learning and exert ownership over their work. In one assessment, students work in a team to design and present a scientific poster based on research that they have conducted independently. The poster assessment was awarded the Faculty’s 2018 Student-led Teaching Award for “Best Assessment Task”.
Esther has developed innovative and authentic assessments to increase student engagement and stimulate learning. For example, to teach students how different types of cells cooperate to promote cancer development and progression, Esther assigned students to role-play the interaction and function of specific cell types during the cancer process. This formative assessment cultivated their collaborative, communication, critical thinking, and creativity skills. The activity engaged the students, helped them learn the subject content by creating their own visual aids, compelled them to think laterally and be imaginative in how they communicate what they have learned, but best of all, to have fun and be excited about learning.