Awardee Dr. Kou Kei Chun

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Dr. Kou Kei Chun
| Dr. Pang Kam Moon

"General Education is whole-person education. GE teachers regard teaching and learning not as a profession but a way of life."

Dr. Kou Kei Chun biography

Dr. Kou Kei Chun obtained his BA in Philosophy from the National Taiwan University. Later, he received his MPhil and PhD in Philosophy at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Dr. Kou joined the Department of Philosophy of CUHK in 2006. Apart from teaching courses on Logic and Analytical Philosophy for the Philosophy majors, Dr. Kou also offers GE courses every year, including UGED1810 ‘Critical Thinking’, UGED1800 ‘Art and Methodology of Thinking’, UGED1111 ‘Logic’, UGED1112 ‘Logic and Argumentation’ and UGED2261 ‘Philosophy and Human Life’.

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His research interests include pedagogy on critical thinking and logic, epistemology, philosophy of language and Anglo-American analytical philosophy. Dr. Kou grew up in Macau and he is at present an Executive Committee Member of the Macau Association of Chinese Philosophy.

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It is my honour to be selected as a recipient of the Exemplary Teaching Award in General Education. My deep gratitude goes to colleagues in the Office of University General Education and in the Department of Philosophy, and also to students who have taken my courses. Without their support and encouragement, I would not have gained the honour. I am not a veteran teacher. I do not have much authentic experience or special tricks to boast of. Still, I would like to take the opportunity to share a few ideas about teaching.

To my mind, a teacher’s performance in class is an embodiment of his personal cultivation in academic studies day in, day out. Teaching, therefore, is more than a profession; it is a way of life. Only teachers with qualities and manners that appeal to students may make for an effective class. For me, good teaching must also be interesting teaching. Good teachers watch out for events and people in daily life that are related to their classes, and extract real-life examples to enrich their teaching. A good sense of humor also helps. Humor with an incisive message is always inspiring. They make it easy for students to assimilate and reflect on what they learn.

In teaching general education courses, especially one on critical thinking, I find the following principles quite useful. First is the principle of charity, a guiding principle in communication: Be ready always to take others’ words as truth. When conducting discussions to promote critical thinking, I always uphold this principle and do my best to interpret each student’s view as the most reasonable one. Only by creating such a learning environment could we encourage students to speak their minds, and attain intellectual growth together. Interactive teaching makes students feel engaged and induces a sense of belonging.

My second principle is to connect different disciplines with examples. By analyzing the use of logical reasoning in disciplines as diverse as literature, philosophy, natural sciences, history and politics, we enable students to see how critical thinking can be applied in different areas of studies.

My third principle is to draw examples from daily life. I use quotes from politicians, film stars and singers who students are familiar with. I also use TV commercials and clips from films and animated cartoons. Such examples boost students’ impetus to learn and make them see for themselves how learning can be connected to living.

To sum up, to be a good teacher of general education, we may do three things: cultivate our temperament, integrate learning from different disciplines, and be always modest and open-minded.

 

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