Teaching, neurolearning, nurturing
Building an inclusive space to share and work together
Scientists and artists are alike in that both attempt to understand the world better. At best, both scientists and artists manage to make the world a better place. Diversity and happiness lies within. These are my goals. At root there is an ethical dimension to my strong commitment to people and social awareness in science and education.
The whiteboard, the classroom and working with colleagues are evolving, collaborative works of art that, by their nature, can never be completely finished. The whiteboard that was just behind the desk in my office was covered by a mural of an oceanic scene: a freediver (myself) is plunging deep into the Mediterranean. Its title is DYVERSE. Everybody who entered my office in the School of Computer Science in Manchester was invited to contribute to DYVERSE. It was an invitation and an open window, and always succeeded in breaking down inhibition with students and colleagues.
DYVERSE mural: a free, collective, evolving mural in my office
Innovation in delivery and learning
I put my heart in science, and feel an obligation to the people I work with. This humanistic approach to science informs the way I teach.
The three pillars of my teaching are:
Neurolearning (you learn it, if you feel it),
Research-driven content, and
Enthusiasm for discovering.
My teaching activities are driven by my passion for research and enthusiasm for learning. I aim to stimulate the imagination of my students with challenging projects and ideas, and employ an innovative and creative approach to my lectures and course assignments. My students are encouraged to think for themselves, to be critical and creative. I nurture my students, with the goal of enhancing their performance, self-confidence and motivation levels. Once properly motivated, students become much more receptive to challenging material and complex concepts. A good method of motivation is to continually update the syllabus and incorporate the most recent results of my own research and other cutting-edge content into my lectures. To encourage their full participation in their learning experience, I challenge students to change the syllabus of the course ‘à la carte’ whilst it is being taught –in what I call ‘unclasses’.