Education academic Professor Bheki Khoza received a UKZN 2020 Distinguished Teachers’ Award (DTA) during the University’s recent virtual graduation ceremony.
The award recognises teachers/lecturers who have a favourable and lasting influence on students and display evidence of an educational impact beyond the classroom. All those who teach at UKZN and promote the importance of excellence in teaching are in contention for the annual awards.
‘I am humbled by the award which motivates me to continue with what I have been doing,’ said Khoza. ‘I feel the DTA confirms that whatever activities I have been part of in teaching, supervision, research, leadership, learning, and community work, contribute significantly towards University development, personal development, and community/societal development.’
He says in his teaching, supervision and research, he has strategies responsive to student and academic, societal, and professional needs, which include extensive support during and outside contact lectures and supervision. ‘I always encourage students to discover their identities and in so doing understand their needs through studies, before they use their competencies to address the demands of their societies and professions.’
Khoza’s teaching and supervision strategies are framed by identification and understanding of all the curriculum concepts which support the integration of various technologies into education. ‘Curriculum concepts include educational goals (aims, objectives and learning outcomes), content, assessment (formative, summative and peer), time, teaching environment with resources (hardware, software, and theories), teaching and learning activities, and grouping as well as student roles and responsibilities.
‘Working with these curriculum concepts is essential for me as they help me to understand each student’s rationale or needs for learning, whether personal, societal, and/or professional. When I teach or supervise students I use one-on-one sessions to establish each student’s requirements before we sign the UKZN Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). If it is not possible for my students to attend a face-to-face session, we use Skype or ZOOM,’ said Khoza.
He believes that awards such as the DTA are important because they constantly encourage academics to develop portfolios of evidence which measure their performance every year.
‘If the majority of academics perform well in all these activities, the University’s ranking improves, attracting sponsorship, scholarships, and quality students from various communities,’ he said. ‘The award also helps academics, through these activities, find and understand their personal, University, and community or societal identities, in order to address their personal, University, and societal needs.’
Khoza coordinates various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, while teaching and supervising postgraduate research in Education, Curriculum Studies, and Educational Technology.
His papers, which have been published in local, national, and international journals, focus on curriculum and educational technology issues, with a distinct emphasis on the convergence of educational theory and technological platforms.