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Curtin Sarawak academic awarded for outstanding contributions to student learning

Miri – 19 January 2014 – Lai Zhen Yue, a lecturer in Physics and Mathematics from the Science and Foundation Department of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak), was among recipients of the 2014 Curtin Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching under the ‘Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning’ category.

The annual awards presented by Curtin University in Australia aim to recognise and reward outstanding performance by individuals and teams at its Australian and international campuses in teaching and in enhancing student learning.

Lai was awarded for her development and implementation of active and innovative learning strategies that enhance student learning in Foundation Engineering Physics.

The awards are divided into three categories for which there were a large number of high-quality and very competitive applications. The categories are ‘Awards for Teaching Excellence’, ‘Awards for Programme that Enhance Learning’ and ‘Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning’.

Lai joins a list of other outstanding recipients under the same category. They are Australian Award Scholarship (AAS) Learning Support Team, Curtin Teaching and Learning, Vice-Chancellory; Dr Janet Beilby and Kathryn Viljoen from the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences; Professor Dawn Bennett from the Humanities Research Graduate Studies, Faculty of Humanities; and Dr Iain Murray from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lai has 10 years of teaching experience and was a recipient of the Curtin Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards – Teaching Citation Award for Approaches to Support Learning (Early Career) in 2013 and the Curtin Sarawak Student Choice Award in 2009, 2012 and 2013.

Prior to joining Curtin Sarawak in 2009, she taught in Singapore as a secondary school teacher.

Lai said that in order to effectively engage her students, she continually introduces new teaching strategies. This equips the students with the skills to be successful and active learners, and enriches their first-year learning experience.

“People often ask me why I chose to teach, and I would quote William Arthur Wards, who said, The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. That sums up my passion for teaching,” remarked Lai.

Besides adopting learner-centred strategies to enhance the learning experience of students, Lai believes it is important to teach from the heart and with great passion as it is the best gift to the students.

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Award-winner Lai believes that one should teach from the heart and with great passion.