“Designing an Active Learning Environment” is a session organized for lecturers to share their tips and techniques in creating an engaging learning environment for students. Asst. Prof. Dr. Vasa Buraphadeja, Chairperson of the Department of Management Information Systems, Martin de Tours School of Management and Economics (MSME), moderated this full-house talk.
Chaiwat Pongcharoenkiat from MSME Business School opened the session with a fun-filled and inspiring talk. He explained his techniques in using clips and pictures to pique the interest of the students. Also, he stressed the importance of being able to connect to students through their social media. This, he said, would create a feeling that the faculty member is accessible and students would feel more relaxed to learn and even consult with the lecturer on all issues, ranging from studies to registration issues to personal life dilemmas. A. Chaiwat ended his talk by emphasizing that lecturers should be aware of the knowledge trap. He said it is important to always bear in mind that students do not know and may have limitations. Therefore, creating a successful active learning environment depends on the lecturers understanding of this fact and addressing it in the way they teach in class.
Mika Tanasarnsanee from the Theodore Maria School of Arts is an outstanding lecturer, who has clinched numerous awards. Her session was focused on developing the whole person education. She said that it was critical for students to do more than just learn their lessons and need to take actions that would benefit society. Drawing from her experience as a United Board of Christian Education scholar, A. Mika showcased her project wherein students in Thailand could learn Japanese through speaking with the elderly in nursing homes in Japan. Through this project students can learn while making a contribution by keeping the elderly company.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Puangratana Pairor, Suranaree University of Technology, shared a very important insight that lecturers need to examine their own teaching and monitor the learning of students. She explained that when she started teaching, she was very confident in her technique until she realized that she had to improve her ways in order to increase the students’ ability to learn. She did this through experimentation and adding technology to monitor the students’ learning. Also, she made it easy for students to answer questions in class through creating a relaxing environment. This stimulated the students to learn better. Her proudest moment is getting feedback from students who found learning Physics was fun. Students gave the comment that the class gave them the confidence that they could learn a tough subject and tackle difficult problems they once thought was impossible.
In the concluding remarks, Asst. Prof. Dr. Vasa said that he would like to amend the old adage, when the student is ready the teacher would appear. He explained that with the current technology students can learn from many different sources. However, he said the adage should be when the teacher is ready the student would appear. This is because if the lecturer can make the class interesting and engaging, the students would open their hearts and learn.