Don’t build barriers between yourself and your students

Lecturers can make their teaching more memorable by breaking down barriers between themselves and their students with a smile and a joke, says Mohammed Zuhear Al Mulali

Mohammed Zuhear Al Mulali's avatar
11 Nov 2022
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Key Details

This video will cover:

00:19 Recalling the old-fashioned lecturer

01:22 A smile to ease the atmosphere

01:55 Relating teaching to students’ lives


Hello, my name is Mohammed Zuhear Al Mulali, I am the head of the sustainable development unit in the Al-Mustaqbal University College. In addition to that, I’m also a lecturer in the Department of Construction and Building Technologies Engineering.

In general, engineering courses and lectures tend to be serious. The genre that I witnessed when I was a bachelor’s degree student, was that the lecturer is a stiff person that never turns to break a smile or joke, the same tone of voice from the beginning to the end, with us trying our best to focus and fight away the urge to have a snooze.

After obtaining my PhD, fate presented me with the opportunity to teach the same serious courses. However, I was determined that I would leave a positive impact on my students.

I remember my first lecture. Students were anxious about their new lecturer, since they had a lecturer before I took over. The previous lecturer was a very serious gentleman, who had the same attributes as my previous peers.

The moment I came into the lecture hall, they saw me smiling. I gave them a realistic story which was related to the subject that I was teaching them, and I eased the tense atmosphere in the room by breaking a joke.

This lecture was in 2016 and still those students who graduated a year later still remember it. I turned a very serious subject into a fun and adventurous one.

From that day on, I related the subjects that I intended to teach my students to something realistic, that they might face in the construction site.

At the end of each lecture, I would give them a question that prepared them for the next subject.

It does not hurt anyone if you smile, break a joke, ask about a football match from the previous night and telling your students to consider you as an elder brother, solving their problems on and off campus.

You are a mentor, maybe a role model, to some of them, therefore don’t build barriers between yourself and your students. Thank you.

Mohammed Zuhear Al Mulali is head of the sustainable development unit and a lecturer in the Department of Construction and Building Technologies Engineering at Iraq’s Al-Mustaqbal University College.

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