Q&A with Dr Norman Ng

4 Nov 2021

To address the 2021 theme "Inclusion" for UQ Teaching and Learning Week we highlighted some of the teachers who enhance student learning in UQ's Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences.

Q&A with Dr Norman Ng

Dr Norman Ng
1. What kind of "Inclusion" teaching and learning practices do you incorporate?

I typically teach large courses with 500-1500 students and ensuring that every student feels included and can identify as part of the student cohort can be challenging, but it remains a priority. It is important to firstly acknowledge the socially diverse backgrounds of students in the course and to give them opportunities to relate with the course content, their peers, and tutors. I try my best to adopt inclusive and people-centric language in course design and development, in my student communications and in my interactions with students during my classes.

For example, a 1500-student cohort is more personal when organised into tutorial classes of 25 students with small group learning taking place. I run an introductory lecture to welcome and orientate students to the course. In tutorials, I have students post a brief bio about themselves on Padlet at the start of the semester. I regularly upload postcard announcements on Blackboard and acknowledge the different seasons of the semester students are working through. Promoting psychological safety in class is important and this signals to students that they can have honest and meaningful discussions. I often use narrative teaching so that students can relate with me and the content. I encourage students to tell their stories so there is a sense of shared experience.

As an educator, creating rapport, having empathy, active listening, reserving judgement, and being approachable go a long way in building community and encouraging connectedness within the classroom. Students appreciate when their lecturers are sincere about supporting them in their learning journey. As they say, “keeping it real”.

2. How do you hope to influence the student experience at UQ?

I think there is so much more than obtaining a degree as a university student. I hope to create for students personable and transformative learning memories. I still hold fond memories of my undergraduate experience that have shaped how I learn today. The way I perceive, question, and evaluate information, the way I interact with my peers and manage challenges. I hope students enrolled in my courses not only attain knowledge and new concepts, but more importantly, grasp the hidden curriculum, and apply themselves as reflective and person-centred health professionals.

3. What do you enjoy about teaching students?

The fact that I learn something new every time I teach! Everyone brings with them life lessons and experiences and when I interact with students in a classroom, I often gain new insights. Of course, I hope that students feel the same way about what I teach. Jokes aside, I delight when students have eureka moments and appreciate the somewhat mundane and tedious process as much as the outcome of a good grade.

4. What are your career highlights so far?

It has been my privilege to coordinate the largest course (HLTH1000 Professions, People and Healthcare) at the faculty in the last five years. My role has enabled me to work with amazing teams of people to develop an award-winning course. I have been fortunate to receive several faculty awards to acknowledge my role, but more importantly, it is fulfilling to see the impact of this course on both students and the community of professional allied health tutors involved. Naturally, it was gratifying to be awarded both the Universitas 21 Health Science Group Teaching Excellence Award and the Faculty’s Award for Program that Enhance Learning for HLTH1000 in 2020.