Outstanding Teaching Award 2013
Professor Wing Sum CHEUNG
Department of Mathematics
Professor Wing Sum Cheung, Department of Mathematics, receives the University Outstanding Teaching Award 2013 for his dedication to teaching and the impact that he has made on his students’ learning.
"Mathematics is a logical game. It is also like a language. It has its own logical structure and convention, and it needs some getting used to. Many may find it difficult to master a new language, but once we develop some sense out of it, very soon we would be able to appreciate its intrinsic beauty and usefulness. Likewise, to learn and master mathematics, the sense or insight or feeling is more important than the sophisticated techniques. In mathematics, detailed and rigorous arguments would easily hinder the understanding of the essential idea behind the scene, and blur the flow of thinking. If a student can put aside the rigour and just go for the ideas, mathematics can be truly enjoyable, fun, and beautiful. So the core of my teaching is to nurture the sense or insight in mathematics.”
Professor Cheung teaches from the perspective of the students. He gives timely motivation on what they are going to learn and why they are learning the materials. From time to time, he also gives a bird’s eye view of where the subject is within mathematics and sometimes even beyond mathematics, and illustrate to the students which directions one can go from there and how far one can go in each possible direction. He uses layman terms to illustrate abstract concepts, and translates intricate ideas into simple pictures. Instead of teaching the materials, he demonstrates to the students how to think. He encourages questions but he does not give a direct answer. He tries to hint the students and lead them to finding out the solution themselves, so as to nurture their sense in mathematics. As a teacher, he strives to infect the students with his own passion towards mathematics, and to open up new dimensions of thinking of the students.