Dr Charlotte Clark
What are your research interests/background?
My lab-based research focussed on developmental biology, first in the field of heart development then in developmental neuroscience. My PhD examined the role of Wnt signalling pathways in regulation of cortical neuron specification and axon guidance. My research interests have moved from the lab towards educational research. I am interested in exploring ways to enhance student learning through constructive alignment of intended learning outcomes, learning tasks and assessment activities; active learning and authentic assessment tasks that integrate knowledge and skill; valuable inclusion of educational technologies; and development of reflective practice.
What attracted you to teaching?
I have always been interested in learning and this led me to think about how I learn and subsequently how others learn. I have been fortunate to have many opportunities to teach, particularly undergraduate anatomy and neuroscience lab classes. I discovered that I actually preferred my time teaching rather than doing my own lab-based research and so after completing my PhD transitioned into a career as a teaching specialist. I started out as a lab demonstrator and tutor, then got a role as a ‘Teaching Fellow’ in the UK. I was also fortunate to complete various teaching and learning professional development opportunities and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in University Learning and Teaching and was made a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. This experience and learning led me to my current position as Teaching Specialist Lecturer, in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience.
Why is it important to educate students on interdisciplinary topics such as stem cells and emerging technologies?
Almost everything we do in life is interdisciplinary. We constantly need to integrate knowledge and skills from various areas. Science, biology and health technologies are constantly progressing and developing and therefore we need to ensure that we are all equipped to deal with new information and new technologies.
How would you describe your approach to teaching?
My approach to teaching is to inspire my students to ask questions. I believe that we learn best when we discover new things ourselves, rather than simply being told information and reciting it back. I also believe that skills are as important, if not more important, than knowledge. If I can equip my students with adequate research and problem solving skills, communication skills, collaboration skills, critical thinking skills and creativity then they will be well equipped to further develop their own learning.
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