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McGill Principal Prize Recipients Weigh in on Various Facets of Teaching and Learning

Three 2018 recipients of McGill University’s Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching were recently interviewed about their thoughts on teaching and learning. 

Nicole Li-Jessen, Assistant Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at McGill’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, offers advice for students … 

“… don’t be shy of asking questions. I believe many teachers, like me, would value questions over answers.” 

… and talks about the strong connection for her between teaching and research … 

“Research synthesizes new knowledge that contributes to course materials. Teaching stimulates students to think and question existing assumptions, methodologies and understanding, which in turn brings new insights that drive research.” 

Read the full interview here. 

Marwan Kanaan, Course Lecturer in Computer and Electrical Engineering, suggests that engineering training may support students with honing their time management skills … 

“Engineering is probably best defined as systematically solving problems using minimal resources [ …] Deciding what to do first, how to organize yourself, how to tackle your challenges is essentially managing your limited resources to solve a problem. Figure this out and you will have a great skill that will stay with you for the rest of your career.” 

Read the full interview here. 

Dave Ragsdale, Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute, believes that his struggle to understand complex matters allows him to empathize with students who don’t ‘get it’ and this makes him a better teacher … 

“I think a lot of times university professors have so much knowledge in the field they are teaching that they don’t understand what it feels like to not get it. I definitely know what it feels like to not get it, so I try hard to put myself in the students’ perspective when I teach.” 

Read the full interview here. 

Senior Academic Associate at McGill's Teaching and Learning Services.; former Senior Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre; area of specialization: Second Language Education; loves teaching and learning; will work for chocolate (Photo credit: Owen Egan)

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