Prof Eric Mazur of Harvard University gave a resounding and captivating lecture in UTM Kuala Lumpur during a recent premier lecture entitled “Memorization or Understanding: Are we teaching the right thing” on the 27 March, 2012.

Professor Mazur explained that education is not about the delivery of information, the many-to-all focus on the teacher in lecture halls, and the high scores students obtained in final examinations.

Teaching, according to Professor Mazur, should be student-focused, involving greater engagement between the students in class, and should focus on the assimilation of materials students receive in class with the context outside of their classroom.

Professor Mazur spoke about pedagogy and what we should be doing in lecture halls with  the students. The most gratifying moment in teaching, according to Professor Mazur, is the “aha” moment students have when they truly understand a particular concept.

The UTM Premier lecture was attended by a full capacity audience of 200 from various institutions and organizations in and around Kuala Lumpur.

Professor Mazur usage of clickers to gauge audience response and participation kept the audience captivated for the two-hour lecture.

He even induced an ‘Aha’ moment from the audience as part of a practical demonstration in learning a concept in Physics.

His approach to teaching is to encourage the students to do the learning themselves by participating in classroom discussion with their peers.  This is based on a series of activities which can be easily implemented in a class of any size.

Professor Mazur spent about 30 minutes in a Question and Answers session after the lecture which ended at 1:00pm.

The lecture will be repeated at UTM Johor Bahru on Thursday March 29 at 9:30am. The session will be chaired by the UTM Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ir. Dato Zaini Ujang.