Mr Mohammed Vawda, a Lecturer within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS), recently spent three weeks in the School of Development Economics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany where he taught a course titled: “Introduction to Population Studies: a Southern African Perspective”.
Vawda’s stay at the university was part of an ongoing programme set up to allow an exchange experience for staff and students of the two universities.
Speaking about the programme, Vawda said: ‘At a broader level I chose to get involved in this teaching venture because it provides a platform to create a long-lasting collaboration between UKZN and an international academic institution of merit. At an individual level it provided an opportunity for me to experience teaching in a different context and to adapt those teaching methods to my South African classes.’
The German students took a keen interest in the course being taught by Vawda with students reacting positively to his engaging teaching style thus creating a conducive environment for higher levels of discussion and proactive learning.
‘This experience provided me with valuable insight into teaching methods and interacting with students from different countries and backgrounds. It was interesting developing different teaching techniques to help overcome language and cultural barriers and create a conducive and engaging teaching environment.
‘I hope what I gained from this experience and opportunity allows me to create a more productive and engaging teaching environment with my South African students.’
Vawda believes that exchange programmes are insightful and provide feedback in terms of adapting, changing and improving teaching methods in different contexts. ‘Exchange programmes also provide a basis for strengthening research and academic collaboration between local and international academic institutions.’