Azra, a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education, has been teaching in New Zealand for 40 years.
She says putting together her portfolio application for the TTEAs was a reflective process that illuminated how much she puts into the learning of her students.
“I realised my entire professional life hadn’t been about teaching at all. It was about learning and, most of all, it was about the experiences of my students. You get to know the learner and you care about them.”
This belief shone through in her TTEA portfolio, the first page of which features an embroidered quote from one of her students that acknowledges the impact Azra’s teaching skills have had on their life.
Azra says most of the research she has carried out during her career has taken place in the classroom, looking at both teaching and learning. The focus of her doctoral study has been the interaction between learning, motivation and assessment, which Azra says had unsurprising, but disappointing, revelations.
“My research revealed that a lot of teaching is motivated by assessment. I believe if you teach somebody to understand something, they are capable of answering any assessment on the topic. If you teach only to adhere to a particular assessment, the student won’t take as much away.
“My mission is to put learning in its rightful place, which is always before assessment.”