Learning a valuable lesson

We are outstanding for our teaching – and we don’t just say so ourselves. This year, we won our seventh national award for top-notch teaching and we were also a finalist for the award of most innovative teacher. Now, everyone remembers a great teacher…

DR SUE DYMOKE National Teaching Fellowship Winner

Sue Dymoke

Recognition for your talent for teaching is one thing – Sue Dymoke from our School of Education went even further by winning a national award for her talent for teaching teachers!

Sue is a published poet with a particular interest in the processes of writing poetry and how these are taught in schools. She has been at the teaching frontline herself, and is well aware of the rigours and demands – she taught English in secondary schools for 16 years, eight of which were as a Head of English.

Winning the National Teaching Fellowship awarded by the Higher Education Academy is a testament to Sue’s extensive work teaching, researching and writing about the teaching of poetry. She was chosen from over 200 nominations from universities across the country.

Says Sue: “I am proud of what I have achieved with the many beginning and experienced teachers I have supported in the eight years I have worked at the University of Leicester. The teaching of poetry presents significant challenges for both teachers and students. I am delighted that my work in this difficult, and often neglected, area of the curriculum has been recognised.”

Recognition has also come in the form of glowing testimonials from former students who have felt inspired and motivated by Sue.

Paul Dhillon, now a Head of Year and Lead Teacher of Gifted and Talented pupils at a Leicester school, said: “The things which made Sue so outstanding were her passion for, and belief in, the value of her subject, English, and her massive commitment to each individual that she tutored.

“Her own expertise within English is top class, but she was always appreciative of her students’ views as well as being able to guide us with her knowledge and understanding and open-minded approach. Without her perceptive approach and encouragement, I would not have achieved the things I have in teaching.”

For Salma Bibi, who completed a PGCE in secondary education, Sue is “incredibly creative, resourceful and experienced. She has a knack for being able to plan and devise interesting activities to help us engage with the topic through the use of a very wide range of resources she had collected and created through her own teaching career. She was also happy to share these gems with us which meant that we felt that bit more prepared to step into our professional careers. I found her knowledge, experience, but mostly her passion, incredibly inspiring. You could almost say her passion was contagious.”

Head of English, Mrs Chloe Quirk added: “Quite simply, Sue’s enthusiasm for teaching as a profession made her stand out. In every session we had in the University, Sue clearly demonstrated what was good about teaching and how teachers can make a real difference to the experience of the pupils in their care.”

And Rowena Mason, who is also a teacher, concludes: “Sue has inspired me to strive to be the best teacher that I can be and progress far in my teaching career. Sue leads by example, which has a lasting effect on those who have the privilege of working with her.”

PROFESSOR NISHA DOGRA Most Innovative Teacher of the Year Finalist, Times Higher Education Awards

Nisha Dogra

Professor Nisha Dogra, from our School of Psychology, has demonstrated both innovation and leadership in the field of psychiatry – particularly child psychiatry – education at international, national and local levels. Through her scholarship in education and teaching, Nisha has successfully contributed to strategic developments at the Royal College of Psychiatrists to help improve student experience through improved curriculum design and teacher support.

Nisha Dogra heavily involves students in the development of new courses. One illustration of this can be seen in the development of the innovative postgraduate course in child mental health.

Having realised that some students were either struggling to return, or were new, to an academic environment after the first cohort, Nisha introduced an induction course for students at no extra cost to them to enhance their educational experience. For undergraduate medical students she undertook a systematic audit of the experiences of her students. Using this information she redesigned the course, including a new handbook and video material, and conducted a further audit to assist in evaluating the impact of the new course.

The handbook was selected by the General Medical Council as an example of good practice and the audit cycle remains one of the few published in the field and has set a benchmark for the teaching of undergraduate child psychiatry.

Nisha has also pioneered novel and influential approaches to teaching medical students and healthcare professionals about cultural diversity. The impact on those who have studied with Nisha is clear. Graduate Mark Palmer says: ”Throughout the course, but especially in my MSc year, Professor Dogra inspired me to pause and look at my abilities and how I am using them to benefit others.

“As I look at Professor Dogra’s achievements I see running through core values of developing others, changing the status quo and empowerment. I have had to reflect on my own course in life to question whether I am working and studying for myself, and what impact am I having on those around me.

“I am now seeking to activate a more aggressive approach to change in respect of BME needs in the Trust and though my course has finished, due to Professor Dogra’s values, I believe I’ve just begun to make a difference. I will utilise the wisdom I have obtained from Professor Dogra to do so.”

This article originally appeared in LE1 Spring 2012/Annual Report Edition 2010/11.

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