Distinguished Teachers’ Award Recipient a Class Above the Rest
The Information Systems and Technology lecturer received the award in recognition of her exceptional and outstanding contribution to teaching and learning at UKZN.
Quilling shared a few valuable insights she has learnt on her journey over two decades in Higher Education towards becoming a Distinguished Teacher:
Teaching is not a job nor a calling - but a way of life
‘I don’t view teaching as “just a job” or as a vocation or calling. To me it is a way of life - a way of “being” and “becoming”. Teaching is one of the things that define how I see things and people; how I interact with others and what I choose to do. The essence of my teaching is thus grounded in who I am and what I believe constitutes a worthy endeavour. This award does not impact my view of my teaching; however the award does validate my sense of myself as a teacher and I see it as an acknowledgement that this is a worthwhile cause which is valued by my colleagues, peers and students,’ said Quilling.
Catering to students’ needs is a priority
‘I believe we face three main challenges in teaching and learning:
- To create every opportunity for access and support for students that we can
- To ensure that by so doing we empower them, not just ease their progress through the Institution
- That we validate their abilities without giving them false expectations for the future.
‘The media bombards our students with the message that they can become anything they want; though it rarely reinforces the commitment one has to make, and the responsibility one has to accept, to achieve this. Not only do we facilitate transfer and exploration of knowledge and skills but we should become vision-casters. We not only help our students to dream of a future filled with possibilities but we also supply the substance that allows them to achieve their goals, and the maturity to understand the related responsibilities,’ said Quilling.
Research leads to innovative teaching and learning
‘I am passionate about emerging, social, Web2.0- and subsequent technologies. These technologies, like social media, are redefining communication and the creation of information and are a key part of re-imagining our reality; in business, science, education, entertainment and socially. My current research focus is on how the use of these technologies is articulated within Higher Education in South Africa.
‘Since 2002 I have used more than 10 platforms and applications like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Second Life, Hipchat, and Edmodo. These approaches have been employed at all undergraduate levels and at honours level, as I diversified my own teaching experience. In the process I experimented with how students at different levels coped with, and could be challenged to take ownership of their own learning. This always included an underlying interest in observing how technology could facilitate this process without colonising and overpowering the students’ learning experience.
‘I believe this awareness and sensitivity to the nuanced demands of my discipline, students’ needs, our rapidly changing society and an openness to challenging assumptions and limitations placed on us by our circumstances, have been central to my teaching and the granting of this award,’ she said
* Quilling is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education.