Teaching in the Higher Education Setting
Facebook Icon to Share Blogs
LinkedIn Icon to Share Blogs

Teaching in the Higher Education Setting

The student formed a friendship with his university lecturer/professor during his course, and the professor mentored him while he was still a student and after graduation - he was like a father to him. Later the professor’s faculty needed an additional lecturer and the professor suggested that his former student apply, and with encouragement, some tutoring and the student’s bravado he got the job.

Upon being notified of his successful application the former student then suddenly had an anxiety attack. How was he to teach? He had never had any training in the art of delivery, preparing content or dealing with students and being a teacher. Panicking, he felt that he did not deserve the job, so considerably stressed he went and confessed to his former professor that he felt that he could not actually do the job of teaching.


Would you like some tutoring with that?

His professor said that he would tutor his former student regarding the key issues that needed to be kept in mind and these would be covered in several sessions each, over a bottle of red wine, including -

  • Teaching and learning;
  • Undergraduate teaching;
  • Importance of onboarding new staff;
  • Postgraduate teaching;
  • Dealing with people: students and staff;
  • The importance of scholarship;
  • Teamwork;
  • The role of the auditor;
  • The importance of wandering around and interfacing with staff and students.



Upon hearing this the new lecturer felt relieved and felt more confident. The older, experienced professor started their first session by opening the bottle of red – and provided his brief guide to teaching in a university.


Teaching and Learning

The older professor said that there are many places where he could start, but he would start with teaching and learning as it is a sensible beginning, as he wanted to get these two concepts right considering that the younger professor was going to teach in a university, and it may well be his future career.



The older professor said that teaching can be defined as engagement with learners to enable their understanding and application of knowledge, concepts and processes while learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught directly.



The older professor said that in his professional life at the university he has two mantras. Because he is teaching in a technical area he is very keen on ensuring that what he teaches today will be able to be used by the learners tomorrow. He also said that his second mantra is that it is important that the teacher makes the classes interesting and engaging for the learner. The older professor poured another glass saying that he wanted to share a secret: that what is taught also needs to be engaging for the teacher because the teacher needs to keep interested in the subject matter and not become bored nor disillusioned with his work and career.


Effective Teaching and Learning

The older professor stated that in his opinion effective teaching goes beyond conveying facts as it aims to ignite curiosity, develop skills, shape character, and inspire a love for learning. Teaching and learning are dynamic and interconnected processes that, when harmonised, pave the way for holistic growth and success for the learner (and the student).


Things are now looking good

The younger professor listened intently. He felt that he was very fortunate because the older professor was patient – just like a father to him - and he just may be looking at a satisfying career. As there was time before he started his new position the older professor invited him to attend his classes and teach small parts. He did this numerous times before he entered the university position, this time as an employee.



The young man now felt very blessed and was enthusiastic about his new position and introduction to education. He looked very much forward to the next session. In the interim, he was going to practice what was discussed.


Associate Professor Cyril Jankoff is Associate Dean (Scholarship) at UBSS and a member of the GCA Compliance Directorate