As Teachers' Day approaches, people are once again reminded of the core value of being an educator: “To nurture students regardless of their abilities with passion.” The prime example of this quote is CCU Center for General Education distinguished professor Chun Ju Huang. He devoted himself to fields such as science communication and citizen science, while educating the general public on ways to decipher scientific fake news. He based his courses on actual practices and problem-solving techniques, in order to truly help his students gain hands-on experiences. All this work contributed to him winning the top honor of the education sphere: National Excellent Teacher Award of the year 2023. Professor Huang was also the first ever educator to receive the award in CCU’s 34 years of history.
“Use inspiration found in daily life to provoke students’ curiosity.”, this quote was one of Professor Huang’s teaching ideologies. As a person with a physics background, being inspired by the philosophy of science was the main reason why Professor Huang dedicated his studies in science education and communication. When he was teaching general education courses, he tried explaining how microwaves function to the class, in an effort to ignite the passion in non-STEM majors. However, Professor Huang was in turn given the cold shoulder. Huang then realized, promoting scientific education shouldn’t be confined to institutionalized education, rather, he should guide students in finding inspiration in their daily lives to further connect them with science knowledge.
Living in an era flooded with fake news encouraged Huang to found the platform: Science News Anatomy. He invited students and assistants to join and worked on debunking numerous scientific fake news appearing in society. By discussing and distributing work with one another, they write articles for people from all walks of life to understand. The team hopes to contribute more to the science and media competence fields and eliminate scientific fake news for all.
Professor Huang mentioned, science competence is a topic that has been explored by many. As time and perspective change, various kinds of new interpretation have surfaced as well. Huang gathered articles from Science News Anatomy and published them into four separate journals. By presenting factual examples to the public, he hopes to encourage them to accumulate more scientific knowledge. He also cited discussions regarding the science communication field, while sharing guidelines about hands-on education practices. By doing so, Huang wishes these materials can be of great use to college educators.
As the main conductor of the Ministry of Education’s “Teaching Practice Research Plan” and chief editor of “Teaching Practice Research Journal”, Professor Huang thinks a competent college educator should possess three features in their teaching philosophy: Consistent motivation, Unlimited dedication and Immediate feedback to students. With these three qualities in hand, educators can analyze students’ learning conditions and proceed with proper solutions.
Professor Huang said: “I hope to train students through general education, help them break through their own minds’ confinement and become the backbone of today’s society.” For the past year, he designed the assignment “If I were a science journalist” for students to work on. By role-playing a character, the professor helped students understand the courses in an enjoyable manner and cultivated critical thinking ability. His emphasis on academic foundation in general education courses pushed him to receive the National Excellent Teacher Award. Apart from the former achievement, Professor Huang also received the Outstanding Research Award from the Ministry of Science and Technology because of his studies in the science communication field.
“A college educator has two main purposes, one is to become the beacon of light in discovering new knowledge, the other is to cultivate talented individuals for the future.” Professor Huang thinks there are three features that are crucial for the education field: Motivation for pursuing new knowledge, Creative perspectives for teaching and Abundant immediate feedback for students. The mentioned three qualities are also present in Professor Huang’s classroom. When being awarded with the achievement, the professor expressed his gratitude for all his students that supported him along the way. Huang sincerely appreciated their support, for if not for them, he couldn’t have choreographed this dance alone.