Small group teaching (SGT) has been a buzz word in the University for
some time now. On 13 May 1999, the Teaching Methodology, Evaluation and
Examination Committee (TMEEC) of the Faculty of Engineering and CDTL jointly
organised a full-day workshop on SGT for Engineering Faculty, with the
aims of defining, discussing and sharing of ideas and experiences, and
obtaining feedback on SGT in the faculty. Topics include the what, why
and how of SGT, SGT in the Faculty of Engineering, strategies and teachers’
experiences, as well as alternative modes of active learning.
The workshop was a fruitful session. It began with the defining of concepts
by CDTL’s Deputy Director A/Prof K. P. Mohanan and Associate Director
A/Prof Wang Chien Ming and followed by discussion of experiences and strategies
by A/Prof Lee Jim Yang, A/Prof David Chua, A/Prof Yeo Swee Ping and A/Prof
Winston Seah representing the various departments in the Engineering Faculty.
The workshop then proceeded with the sharing of alternative modes of learning
by two CDTL Associate Directors, A/Prof Matthew Gwee (Faculty of Medicine),
and A/Prof Tan Cheng Han (Faculty of Law).
Later in small groups, workshop participants discussed key questions
concerning the implementation and effectiveness of SGT in the Faculty.
Whether SGT significantly improves students’ communication skills,
whether SGT promotes active and interactive learning, whether SGT conflicts
with independent learning, the problems faced by the teacher conducting
interactive teaching/learning and the form of SGT in the Engineering Faculty—these
were issues addressed in the various small groups.