Teacher of the month

Dr Phil Connors

Phil Connors

Dr Phil Connors

My current teaching is with post-graduate students in International and Community Development who generally come to the course with a wealth of knowledge and practical experience. I incorporate a problem-based learning approach to my teaching, integrating my research and encouraging students in a critically reflective approach to their community and social development practice. I see my role as a facilitator, mentor and resource person in a learning environment which encourages dialogue and the respectful sharing of ideas and issues, validating existing knowledge and building this into an informed, contextualised and dynamic theory base.

I endeavour to develop a learning environment that is built on respect for the diverse contexts from which students come. The experience and knowledge students bring to my units ensures a quality and depth of learning is achieved that goes beyond simply learning about theoretical concepts and applying them to practice.

As the course is fully off campus and my students located around the world, I am keen to use technology to enhance the learning experience, as tools to encourage participation rather than simply as portals to information. Being aware of the different life and information technology contexts in which my students find themselves, an integral part of the process is encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning and to link the unit material to their own life, work and community context.

Reflecting on my teaching it is important for me to develop a learning community that is empowering, recognising values and respecting difference as key factors in transformative learning. I am constantly excited by working with committed people who love to learn through sharing and respect and I believe this is understood by the people who undertake the learning journey with me in my units.

Achievements:

2011 - Working with colleagues on the development of a Master of Humanitarian Assistance.
2011 - Negotiating a dual degree partnership with Padang State University MEc/MICD.
2010 - Initiating a Participatory Curriculum Development process in my unit ASD704.
2010 - Taking on the role of Course Co-ordinator for ICD.
2009 - Invitation to be involved in Teaching Leaders Forum.
2008 - Facilitating a Course at Schumacher College, UK titled The Future of Development.
2008 - Participating in an intensive course on Educating for Sustainability at Schumacher College, UK.
2007 - Initiating the option of negotiated second assignment topics in my units to enhance the personalised learning of students.
2007 - Working with Dr. Max Kelly on developing Internship Units for the ICD course.
2005 - Joining Geelong FAPDC Committee and chairing it from 2006 - 2011.
2005 - Joining the ICD team and getting to work with such committed and dedicated colleagues.
2003 - Introducing projects into Community Development unit for undergraduate students.

Director - Training Opportunities and Options for Learning, Hobart Tasmania - a not for profit organisation working with young offenders and ‘at risk’ young people to enhance their life opportunities.


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