Excellent Teaching Assistant Award 2018-19
“Science is more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.” – Carl Sagan
Mr Ayon Ahmed HASSAN received his Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology from HKU in 2016, and continued to pursue his PhD degree at School of Biological Sciences under the supervision of Professor Alice S T WONG.
As a graduate student, Ayon has been extensively involved in the demonstration and teaching of the laboratory component of several undergraduate courses for the past 3 academic years. While the primary responsibility of demonstrators is to guide students through hands-on experiments, he sees this as an opportunity to help students bridge the gap between what is taught in the classroom and the experiments they perform in the lab. For the course BIOL3406 Reproduction and Reproductive Biology, he revised the teaching material of the pre-lab lecture in a concerted effort with the course instructor, so that the lab component ultimately facilitates the understanding of the relevant lecture topic, and falls in line with the learning outcome of the course. In addition, he took the initiative to design a marking scheme in order to standardise grading across demonstrators. This marking scheme was later adopted as part of the course.
Ayon’s goal, through his teaching practices, is to give the students a more realistic idea of how science is practised in a research setting. He encourages students to not just passively learn experimental techniques, but to ask questions and think about the purpose of performing the experiment, and how their observations relate to what is currently understood about the topic. Ultimately, he hopes to stimulate students’ critical thinking skills and intellectual growth. He believes that such a mindset can inspire students to be more enthusiastic about pursuing science. Nonetheless, these qualities will no doubt come in handy regardless of what profession they choose to pursue.