Dr Katharine Evans is a lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at Cardiff University. Her fresh teaching style brings interactive games and group working to enhance the student learning experience.Dr Katharine Evans is a graduate of Cardiff University, where she now works as a lecturer and clinical director, a position which she has held for the last eight years.
Prior to securing the lectureship, Dr Evans completed a PhD at the university and as a post-graduate used to supervise the teaching modules which she now leads. As a result she has “seen it from the student’s perspective,” and observed first-hand how she would like to improve on that teaching.
Over time, Dr Evans has gradually instigated those changes through her teaching as she explained: “I have changed the structure so our lectures are more aligned with the work that we do and I have changed the assessments so they are much more task-orientated.”
Always drawing on her own experiences, Dr Evans describes her teaching style as “very informative,” adding: “It’s obviously lecture-based, but I still work in practice, so I talk to the students about my experience in practice and try and relate to real life experiences that I’ve had.”
For Dr Evans, teaching is about varying lectures to maintain student engagement. “Lectures can be very boring, so I get the students to work together in groups, play interactive games, just to try and vary the typical lecture. For instance, when talking about contact lenses, I hand out samples so they can see them and feel them,” she explained.
Offering new lecturers advice, Dr Evans urged them to follow their own natural teaching style. “We all see other people lecturing and we would like to emulate them, but you just need to be yourself, otherwise the students see through it,” she said, adding: “Focus on feedback. The students love lots of feedback, but it can be quite a challenge to keep up with the demands. So I always try to start the lectures with feedback from the clinics, and get the students to give each other feedback – that way they get the valuable feedback without it taking up all your time.”
Runners up: Andrew Gridley and Professor Edward Mallen