Implementing a Student Consultant Program at Lingnan University

Hung Lam Elizabeth HO
Lingnan University, Hong Kong
lizho@ln.edu.hk

James POUNDER
Lingnan University, Hong Kong
pounder@LN.edu.hk

Meredith GOLDSMITH
Lingnan University, Hong Kong
mgoldsmith@ursinus.edu

Abstract

To enhance teaching and learning, Lingnan University's Teaching and Learning Center partnered with the Teaching and Learning Initiative at Ursinus College (USA) to develop faculty-student partnerships in the form of pedagogical "student consultants." Through regular classroom observations, consultation, dialogue, discussion, and critical reflection, student consultants provide faculty across disciplines with feedback from the perspective of trained students who are not enrolled in their courses. Partnerships allow faculty insight into how their teaching practices and assignments are perceived and received by their students. Through partnership, a new forum is created where students and teachers can collaborate on how they both function as teachers and learners. As the program is not formally evaluative and strictly confidential, faculty are challenged to take risks in their pedagogy and reassess the traditional roles of student and teacher. At the same time, this program offers students opportunities to participate in and take ownership of their education. This program emphasizes interactions between students and teachers in the exploration, discussion and solving of pedagogical issues and, as a result, better teachers and better students will emerge.

To implement the Student Consultant Program at Lingnan, two Ursinus College students trained four Lingnan University students to participate in the observation process. Over three days, Lingnan students formally observed various classes across disciplines and engaged in reflective discussions with faculty in the analysis of their classroom practices and experiences. The results were immediately transformative: organizers saw newly empowered students transforming the classroom and taking ownership of their education. At the same time, faculty were empowered by the affirmation of what works in their classrooms and received feedback on what could be improved. As we continue to refine a four-year curriculum that will prepare students to become global citizens, the Student Consultant Program is an innovative way of enhancing teaching excellence through dialogue and collaboration between faculty and students.

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