Yet Another Interdisciplinary Researcher


Statement of Teaching

H. Kemal Ilter

I have strong confidence to say for the last two decades, student evaluations about me and my courses were taking place between 4 and 5 points (according to 1-to-5 Likert-type scale) on average. This average score was always higher than the related department’s overall score.

As a university teacher, I am trying to motivate, challenge and inspire my students. I think every student can understand the passion that I feel about my lessons. An interesting beginning which attracts my students into a new learning experience is important to me. This beginning usually starts with a true story about the lecture and it includes a brief history of the subject. The story is an initial platform in the background where historical facts are embodied knowledge. I get help from the students to develop this platform. Their participation in this story, asking questions, seeing problems, and making various (even if wrong, inaccurate, or false) comments makes it an interesting beginning to the lesson. “Asking questions” and “Responding”; I think these two are important issues. If these questions and answers are absurd enough then we have an opportunity to talk about wrong questions and wrong answers. I prefer to use wrong, inaccurate or false answers to reveal a hidden feature of the subject that we talk about. When the students start to pay a little attention to the topic they are talking about, usually, the door to the innovative thinking is opened.

Secondly, challenging is important to me. I see that they are willing to challenge me and the subject as well as themselves and other students. I try to make sure that each student's unique approach is the main feature of this challenge. Personally, it is always pleasant to be in a class as individuals who can communicate with each other instead of being a teacher who only gives information on a specific topic. Sometimes I want to let a student make me misunderstand, even make funny. It is important to me that I am one of them, that it is necessary to struggle with some difficulties to get a certain experience. I think that it is necessary to encourage them to discuss as much as possible, to identify me and my interests, to allow them to learn various features. This approach is a way to make them feel that I am as supportive as possible.

Finally, I try not to be concerned with my subject matter or the subject I'm interested in, but to deal with various subjects ranging from fundamental sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology) to advanced interdisciplinary fields. This is important for them to see the world with a different eye. I think that multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary scientific ideas enable them to look at the issues from different angles and to further develop themselves. For this reason, in my courses, I use the documents, slides, and online materials with a website. I have prepared them for the particular course specifically. I think that when customized material shows the importance to the students and the topic, they have developed their ideas on using new methods. In general, my goal is to make sure that my students are self-motivated, have their ideas and traits, can develop creative solutions to complex problems and have a target about continuous improvement in all areas of their lives.