SOFT AND HARD: Siddique Motala uses art and other creative avenues to make students relate to each other and his subject
A willingness to tackle difficult topics and include creative influences in his lectures have earned a CPUT lecturer a top teaching award. Siddique Motala, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying, was recently announced as a National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award winner for 2017 and will formally receive the award at a gala ceremony in November.The award is made on behalf of the Council of Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of South Africa (Heltasa) and recognises the unique contributions winners make to their classrooms.Motala was also awarded the CPUT Faculty of Engineering’s Teaching and Learning Award in 2016 and credits his achievements to an interest in exploring more than just quantitative teaching methods.
“In Engineering there can be a split between the hard sciences and the soft, which is the part that would be more interested in aspects like ethics. This could translate into a situation where ethical considerations are simply a box to tick. Ultimately to me a surveyor doing their job ethically is doing their job properly,” he says. In an effort to encourage his students to explore more creative solutions Motala doesn’t shy away from discussions about race, religion, class and even the Fees Must Fall debate. Additionally creative avenues like history, art and a deliberate focus on Africa makes his students relate to one another in completely innovative ways. “It is unfortunate that our local students will often be able to point out New York or London but not Benin or other African countries, this has presented an opportunity for foreign African students to take the lead in class,” he says.