Dr Ineke Crezee, who won a Vice-Chancellor award for Academic Excellence in Teaching, believes the secret for success in the classroom isn't complicated.
"I'm constantly evolving my approach and coming up with new ways to create 'semi-authentic' learning experiences — simulating contexts where students can't get first-hand experience," she says.
"It's all based on the feedback I get from students. it's important to make people feel really at home, to encourage feedback and then to act on that feedback."
Ineke won the award for her contribution to healthcare teaching and raising the standards of interpretation and translation.
She has taught translation and interpreting for over 20 years. In 1991 she helped establish the first healthcare interpreting course in New Zealand — to reduce the risk of medical misadventure brought about by errors in communication and understanding.
Key to Ineke's success is an approach called situated learning.
"Situated learning is really about creating a community of learners and an environment that tries to create simulated real life learning experiences whilst also enabling people from diverse ages, ethnicities and life experiences to feel included and valued.
"People love coming to classes and ultimately it leads to the creation of a community of practitioners."
Her clinical background in nursing combined with her academic interests and expertise in linguistics, translation and interpretation, has helped her develop a unique approach to the challenges of training diverse ethnic and cultural groups as interpreters in the healthcare system.
A central theme that Ineke refers to often is the role of passion in teaching and learning.
"You have to start with enthusiasm — I still really love what I do!"
She says that this attitude is infectious, as some students who start out indifferent towards the healthcare industry become really passionate about it as the course progresses.
Seeing a need for a practitioner manual, Ineke began compiling her ideas and experience in 1997, which led to a preliminary book that became popular with students. She says the utility of the book was largely because it is based on student feedback of the kind of reference guide they wanted.
That early incantation served as the foundation of highly anticipated book: Introduction to Healthcare for Interpreters and translators, due for release later this year.
Preliminary feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with one reviewer saying the book is "a must have for all those legions healthcare interpreters out there".
The book includes an array of anatomical diagrams and guides to the Greek and Latin medical terminology.
"Students said they wanted everything in the one place — in a healthcare setting they don't have time to look on the internet or at other sources," says Ineke.
"The book is just a drop of information in the overall scheme of things but it fills an important gap for translators and interpreters."
A recent paper from the Royal Society of New Zealand shows that New Zealand population has experienced a large increase in ethnic, cultural, social and linguistic diversity.
New Zealand is now home to 160 languages, with multi-ethnic depth forecasted to deepen even further and Auckland is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.
The paper also explores the challenges communities face with regards to language, culture and identity and makes a strong case for a national languages policy.
Dr Sharon Harvey, Head of the School of Language and Culture at AUT University and member of the Royal Society's Social Sciences and Humanities Advisory Panel notes that there are a number of increasingly urgent language issues in New Zealand such as:
"This paper helps us understand how we might address them and what the national picture looks like."
Researchers looked at several areas of contemporary languages research. Two linked areas are the advantages that language learning provides for both monolingual and bilingual students.
For monolingual students, learning another language may have benefits across the whole curriculum, whilst there is evidence for cognitive improvements when children are raised bilingually.
Internationally, other predominantly English-speaking nations are keenly interested in promoting language use due to diversification in international relationships, trading partners, and immigration.
The United Kingdom is developing policies for compulsory language education in primary school in addition to the existing policy at secondary school, whilst Australia continues to develop their national languages policy, which is now 20 years old.
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June 2012AUT is proud to be again hosting the annual Auckland Regional Secondary School Japanese Speech Festival and we are looking forward to receiving even more entries this year.
There are four entry categories: Category 1 (Year 11), Category 2 (Year 12), Category 3 (Year 13) and Category 4 (Open). The open category includes native and bilingual speakers.
One Year 12 or Year 13 winner from all regional speech competitions will be selected to represent New Zealand at the Australian National Speech Competition in Sydney.
There are other great prizes to be had — so get in quick and register online now.
For more information please contact Sonja Gallagher — email@example.com or phone 921 9999 ext 6830.
She studies the language and lives with a family from China, but she has never been.
This month however, that will change, as AUT University student Kelly Blythen, 19, jets off to Changsha, China.
Kelly — who is studying a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese majoring in Chinese Language - won the second prize award at the 11th Chinese Bridge Speech Competition in May.
So, along with the kudos from her classmates, lecturers and judges, she has won a two week trip to China and a scholarship to study at a university in Shanghai in September 2013.
The scholarship is the Confucius Institute Scholarship to study at Fudan University for an academic year. The scholarship includes the registration fee of the course, tuition, teaching materials, accommodation on campus, monthly living allowance and one-off resettlement subsidy.
Competing against 19 other students from New Zealand universities Kelly had to do a five minute speech on the topic 'Me and China'.
"I talked about how I can’t wait to go to China and about the family I live with now," she says.
"We have to present dialogues or speeches every week in class, so that prepared us quite well for the speech competition."
Kelly will travel to China and observe at the international speech competition and says she will use the experience to learn more about the language and culture, and prepare for her study next year.
Winning such a big prize was a shock she says, and she plans to make the most of her trip.
"I'm excited to experience China for the first time. I expect it to be really busy. I’m also looking forward to realising I don’t know as much Chinese as I thought. So I’m scared but excited."
Kelly's lecturer Susan Yue Hua Sun says she and others that teach on the course anticipated her success.
"She came from Paparoa, Northland at the beginning of last year as an absolute beginner. She studied very hard, has learned Chinese for less than 1.5 years, yet she was competing with third and fourth year students."
Blythen will finish her degree with AUT in 2013 and after her scholarship experience in China, Blythen says she is looking at coming back to university to study again.
"I'd like to get into interpreting if I can, maybe foreign affairs."
AUT University’s New Zealand Creative Writing Competition winners, announced in April, received their awards in a ceremony on 10 May.
The competition began life three years ago and is run by AUT’s Centre for Creative Writing.
Michael Lee, from Canterbury took out the top prize in the 21 years and older (open) section, with his work, Lost and Found.
The short story is "a fantasy or fairy tale about a young girl who gets off the subway at an abandoned station. She meets a lady playing a piano who turns out to be somebody she once knew," says Lee.
The winner of the 15-20 years old category was 16-year-old Su Young Lee from Howick, who wrote her piece, named Yue Yue, about a little girl who witnesses the accident that Yue Yue, a two- year-old girl, had in Guangzhou, Foshan, China on Thursday, October 13, 2011, she says.
"It's about how eighteen people just passed Yue Yue lying on the road, including the little girl with her mother. The story is written in the little girl’s perspective."
Renowned New Zealand author Tessa Duder chose the winners of the short story sections and said the pieces that won were stories she could read again and again.
"My final choices are always those that get better with every reading, as I come to appreciate the originality of the idea and the skill of the writing; the less successful, those that might have appealed initially drop away.
"The steadily rising standard of this AUT competition, especially in the 15-20 section, is pleasing to note, along with the variety of genres tackled. It takes confidence and nerve to pull off fantasy in short fiction, as have the top two, triumphantly, in the 21+ section."
For the first time the competition also had a short graphic fiction section and Rachel J Fenton from Auckland’s North Shore took out this award.
Her graphic fiction work, Alchemy Hour, is, in her own words, about, "the magic hour or alchemy hour in surfing parlance, when the sea suddenly comes to life after a long stillness to produce perfect conditions for surfing. It’s also a story about bereavement and wanting to turn back time and make amends".
Judge of the graphic novel section — author Dylan Horrocks — says he quality of entrants was extremely high, which made it very hard to judge.
"Even choosing a shortlist was extremely difficult. But what a treat to read the entries.
"It was great seeing so many different styles and genres and unique individual voices, including cartoonists I've never encountered before. There's so much creative energy out there in comics right now it's very exciting."
The winners receive an iPad, second place an iPod Touch and third an iPod Classic. All will get time with mentors, the short story writers with Carl Nixon and the graphic fiction winners with Horrocks.