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Reflections on the UWI Experience

An overview of the lessons I learnt in teaching at UWI Mona

· UWI Mona,Westminster model,philosophy,education,teaching

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Being able to develop a course was the highlight of my tenure at the UWI. I was the sole instructor for “History of Ancient Philosophy”, where I was able to manage the course entirely. I learned that “you can lead the horse to the water, but cannot make him drink.” The class size was smaller than I anticipated. In the past, I found that my name as an instructor carried weight, when students signed up for a course they thought I was instructing and they had a certain expectation of the class. I understood that the course was not as intriguing and that titling a course is about marketing. These were components beyond my control. While I adopted to the idea that a syllabus is like a contract between teacher and student, I realized that students did not pay attention to the syllabus, and failed to follow through with assignments. I also got a dose of ‘academic bureaucracy’, as I learned that despite my ideal pedagogical style, department policy and regulations trumped instructor’s policy, and university policy and regulations trumped department policy and regulations. Thus, my syllabus was not a binding contract. I learnt class time was also an important factor in course design even though I had no control over the time of the course. I found this experience rewarding, as well as a reality check.

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