|Teaching at NUS:
||Aims & Objectives of Effective
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the
lighting of a fire.
What constitutes effective teaching may be subject to debate—it would be simplistic and
reductive to insist on a monolithic definition of effective teaching, considering the multiplicity
of factors that come into play—but most would agree that the basic purpose of teaching is to
enable learning. The most effective teaching is that which results in the most effective learning.
An elaboration on this is provided in CDTL Paper (T102)5. Briefly, it may be said here that
higher education must do more than provide information and training, although undeniably
these are relevant concerns. Higher education, in particular, should move beyond the lowerorder
skills of acquisition and reproduction of facts.
Indeed, in a knowledge-driven society where information having increasingly short shelf
life, it is important for teachers to focus on the longer-term goal of preparing our students
for life, equipping them with more than a finite and rapidly obsolescent body of knowledge,
and developing their faculties for understanding, applying and creating knowledge, as well as
their ability to constantly refresh and upgrade their knowledge. A quality graduate is life-skills
oriented, learning-enabled and lifelong capable. The aims and desired learning outcomes of
effective teaching may thus effect positive changes in the following:
- Discipline/profession-specific knowledge.
- General knowledge: fundamental concepts that an educated person/university graduate
should have, regardless of area of specialisation.
- Awareness/familiarity across knowledge domains (i.e. ‘rounded’ education).
- Ability to identify what information is needed and where to find it.
- Evaluation of information and discrimination of what is valid and useful from what is not.
- Application/adaptation of knowledge to problem solving and making of informed
- Self-directedness in learning and the ability to sustain lifelong learning.
- Capacity for independent research and knowledge.
- Ability to communicate ideas clearly and structure arguments convincingly.
|The most socially useful learning in the modern world is
the learning of the process of learning, a continuing openness to experience
and incorporation into oneself of the process of change.6
- Questioning habit of mind with readiness to seek evidence/support for ideas/concepts
presented, and to investigate/challenge established and controversial views including those
which are generally taken as ‘knowledge’.
- Awareness of the complexity and dynamic nature of human knowledge and the need for
evaluation and re-evaluation of knowledge.
- Enjoyment of learning.
- Learning as a lifelong habit.
|Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to
remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be
| Oscar Wilde
- Prof. K.P. Mohanan. (July 1999). Concept Paper on Assessing Quality of Teaching in Higher Education. Centre for Development
of Teaching and Learning, Doc. No. T102. http://www.cdtl.nus.edu.sg/publications/assess/.
- Carl R. Rogers. (1969). Freedom to Learn. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company. p. 163.
OHR Paper HR 092/02. Procedure for Promotion and Tenure. https://wws.nus.edu.sg/staff/ohr/acad/apt/promo_tenure/ procedure-promo_tenure-HR092.doc.