Dialogue with Robert Winter

I had the pleasure of interviewing our Instructor, Robert Winter whom I would like to introduce and paint a vivid picture of how he will play a part in our vibrant institute.

Bob has been working in Myanmar for 14 years in the field of education, focusing mainly on the college level. He taught for six years in the Liberal Arts Program at the Myanmar Institute of Technology and helped set up the institution's English Department. After that, he worked with the Open University of Hong Kong to establish an Associate's Degree in Social Sciences for students in Myanmar. He was the program director and also taught courses in academic writing and presentation skills. More recently, he has been working as a consultant in higher education.

He joined Connect recently and will be teaching Academic Literacy (ENG 10) and Introduction to Literature (ENG 20). When asked what the students should expect from his literature class, he smiled and said it will be a survey course that covers modern poetry, the short stories and drama. He will emphasize on the works of R. Frost, Gwendolyn Brooks, E.E Cummings, George Orwell and several other writers.

Bob is an advocate of participatory learning and feels that students learn more when they figure out the meaning of a poem or short story by themselves. His teaching style is to act as a facilitator and not just give lectures. He will encourage the students to present their ideas in class and give writing assignments that he hopes students will find engaging. 

His message to students is for them to try and expand their world-views and see education as more than preparation for a career. He added that his favorite quote about teaching comes from his friend Spencer Benson, director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Enhancement at the University of Macau: "Teaching is leading students into a situation in which they can only escape by thinking."

He concluded by saying that he started to love learning and see the true value of it only when he got to college, and that he would like all of his students to see this as an opportunity to broaden their horizons by embracing new ideas and ways of thinking.

By Olive Too

Dialogue with David

I sat down with our Visiting Lecturer, David Shea after his lecture to ask about his impression of the students at Connect. It was very interesting to see that his class provided thought provoking questions and students really enjoyed it.

David is originally from Georgia, but has been working in Japan since 1993. He has been teaching content based courses such as Contemporary film, Discourse of advertising, Writing presentation and Academic literacy skills in order to develop English proficiency. He joined as a full time instructor at Keio University in 2000 and is still working there. He first visited Myanmar in 2014 with some of his university students and realized that he would like to come back again to contribute more for the young people here.

He is back this year and is teaching a short course called the "Discourse of Advertisement," to the students at Connect. When asked how he finds his classes, he replied that he enjoyed the classes a lot, as students asked perceptive questions and found that they are bright, energetic and committed. He thinks that it is really important to create an open, friendly, supportive and comfortable atmosphere for students to contribute. He is satisfied with the way students responded as they can interpret the concepts behind the story of each advertisement. Not only was he surprised but also glad to hear answers that he didn't expect or thought about before.

He uses a structured and interactive teaching style with a dialogic approach. He thinks it gets the students involved and engaged as the instructor and students learn from each other instead of just him lecturing alone.

One last thing that he wants to tell the students is a famous quote that is commonly known in Japan - "Boys, Girls, Be Ambitious!" He also tells the students to be constructive and positive with their lives, as it is always encouraging for the world to have people who are committed.

By Olive Too