Stellenbosch University
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Top lecturer shares about her teaching practices
Author: E Els
Published: 10/04/2024

​Lynn Chambers has consistently received acclaim from first-year students as their top lecturer for the past three years. At Stellenbosch University's annual First-year Achievement Awards ceremony the spotlight was not only on the top students, but also on the lecturers who played a crucial role in their achievements. Chambers was nominated by first-year top student Anke Scheffer.

Chambers' commitment to student success and her ability to create an engaging learning environment have played a significant role in her consistent recognition as the best lecturer.

“I have been very fortunate to work closely with Dr Chrischar Rock (course coordinator) and Mrs Euria Hendrikse. Our continuous, collaborative planning and curriculum development have resulted in a dynamic process of academic renewal of the Practical Learning modules and form the cornerstone of my practice as a lecturer" Chambers said.

She explained that she is committed to an inclusive approach that regards the rich diversity of experience and knowledge her students bring to the classroom as an invaluable resource for teaching and learning. She uses her students' reflections on their own schooling experiences, drawing from a large variety of geographic and socio-economic contexts, as a springboard for enabling them to make meaningful connections between academic theories and classroom practice.

Chambers and her colleagues use a multi-modal approach for assessment and for driving engagement in their modules, such as: frequent use of the SUNLearn discussion forum tool, in which students have to answer a number of questions or complete tasks based on what was discussed during class that week; journal entries in which students must apply theories and principles to their own lives and teaching practices or to case studies; links to online videos, presentations or podcasts with follow up reflective writing activities; and discussion prompts together with the think-pair-share or turn-and-talk methods during lectures. With regards to assessment, they have found that setting assignments such as photo essays and infographics (sometimes accompanied by narration in the form of audio clips), are an effective addition to text-based assessments. These methods also lend themselves to peer-to-peer teaching and learning. They are working on adding digital-storytelling to their toolbox of engagement and assessment strategies.

Chambers' work experience includes educational publishing and foundation phase teaching over a 15-year period. She has worked and volunteered in a wide variety of schooling contexts over the years: rural and urban, government and private. In 2020 she graduated with an M.Ed from the University of Cape Town and jumped at the chance to lecture at Stellenbosch when she was approached by Prof Robinson. She recently registered to start her doctoral studies and will be focusing on student teachers' experiences around classroom management during their teaching practicums.