Dr Meegan Hall
A lecturer at the Centre for Academic Development, Meegan teaches courses on higher education learning and teaching and hosts teaching orientations and events.
Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa
What are you currently teaching?
I work in Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Centre for Academic Development so most of my teaching is to lecturers and tutors. For example, I teach a 500-level course about higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand, and I contribute to another about curriculum design and assessment in university courses. I also teach on the Orientation to Teaching for new academic staff and deliver training workshops about topics such as inclusive teaching practice. When I can, I enjoy contributing to the programme offered by Te Kawa a Māui, the School of Māori Studies, such as their introductory course about Māori society and culture and their postgraduate course about Māori research methodologies.
Tell us about your approach to teaching.
I think of my role as being about helping people to make connections between what they already know and the new ideas and information that they want to acquire. I also try to take the time to talk with my students about not just what the new material is, but why it is relevant and important for their learning. In addition, I like to focus quite explicitly on skills development; when I set assessment I try to make it very clear what skills the students will be working on, and I endeavour to help them enhance their academic skills in ways that are likely to be useful for their future pursuits.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at the University?
I love the adrenalin rush of a good lecture—when the students have been really engaged and the time has whizzed by. I love reading students’ assignments and seeing how much their knowledge, skills, and confidence have developed over a 12-week period. I love the anticipation of the first class—what will the students be like? What kind of classroom vibe will develop?—and the anticipation of the last class—how many of the students will finish the course? Who will wow me in the final assessment? Finally, I love getting to teach in Māori studies because it gives me the chance to learn more about te ao Māori, alongside my students.
What have you learnt now that you wish you knew when you were a student?
I was the first person in my whānau to go to university and I came from a relatively small college in a poor community. In my first couple of years I imagined that there was some ‘magic formula’ for getting ahead at university that everyone else seemed to know but me; a secret code for getting good grades and a secret club of people who were confident in lectures and knew how to work the university system. Of course, that wasn’t really the case but it was hard to shake the feeling that I didn’t quite fit in.
However, I discovered that if you have reasonably well-developed literacy or numeracy skills, and you go to your classes and spend some time on your assignments, you will be okay. If your reading, writing or arithmetic is not quite ‘up to scratch’, the good news is that there are plenty of support services to help you get better. The key thing is to seek that help before it is too late—and remember that there is no easy ‘magic formula’.