My teaching philosophy is strongly influenced by my early experience as a student in Pakistan. I went to one of the prestigious schools in Pakistan, namely, Lawrence College Ghora Gali Murree, Pakistan. It was founded by Sir. Henry Lawrence in 1860 as an orphanage for the children of British soldiers. The school currently enjoys the reputation of being one of the best public schools in the country. Contrary to the popular notion, the the pedagogical system had some
serious flaws in it. In the school we were spoon-fed the course syllabus normally using numerous mild to harsh reward and punishment mechanisms. The biggest disadvantage this had was that instead of gaining knowledge we used to memorize information given in the course material. I nonetheless persevered, in a system where the teacher was considered to be all wise and the student was expected to blindly accept what ever was delivered to him.
The most important lesson I took from my growing up there was that students should not be treated as dumps in which knowledge can be fed and stored. The students should be helped to understand the world from their coign of vantage. I believe that life is a continuous learning process in which we are all engaged in delivering knowledge to each other, exchanging ideas and sharing ideals. Furthermore, I believe that to be effective, teaching and learning must be fun for the teachers and students alike, and that the best pedagogic encounter is one where everyone leaves with more curiosity than boredom.
Over the past years I have been more involved in doing academic research than in teaching. Nonetheless, I have had a chance to take lectures from notable professors around the world both through the Internet, such as MIT OpenCourseWare and Stanford Engineering for All, and in real classrooms in places like University of Limerick, Ireland and Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan. Moreover, I have also had a chance to teach courses in computer science like Machine Learning to Pakistani students. Some of my students are already pursuing higher education in renowned universities in Europe and Scandinavia. I personally believe that it is much more fun to teach when lectures are interactive in the sense that when they are question answer sessions as opposed to simple and monotonous one man shows being held by the teacher. Students learn best when they are engaged in by the teacher in an attempt to answer questions about the subject matter so as to develop the underlying concepts by being inquisitive and mentally engaged in the lecture as opposed to being mere collectors of information that is delivered in the former style of teaching where the teacher delivers and the students half heartedly listen to the lecture.
As a researcher and a student of Computer Science and Engineering I
also found that certain esoteric subjects such as digital signal processing, digital image processing and some ideas in machine learning are best understood if they are first studied from the perspective of a Mathematics shy student.
Moreover, I personally think that it is very important for the teacher to take feedback about the way subject matter is being delivered from the students to ascertain the level of satisfaction the students enjoy about their understanding of the subject. I believe that this should be done in the class room on a regular basis both by directly asking the students and also by posing questions or by taking quizzes. I also believe that it is very important for the teacher to be conveniently accessible to the students both in and outside of the class room. I also think that as opposed to having a stern demeanor it is rather a good idea if a teacher has a good sense of humor. This is generally good for lightening up the atmosphere of the class
Finally, the students should be engaged in doing practical assignments related to the material they have been taught and they should be examined through well prepared comprehensive tests twice in a semester.
In the past I have taught the following courses to students:
- Machine Learning.
- Java Programming and Introduction to Software Engineering.
- Distributed Systems.
- Computer Software.
In future I intend to teach the following courses too:
- Digital Signal Processing.
- Digital Image Processing.
- Multimedia Systems.
- Computer Architecture.
- Computer Networks.
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