Dr Oksana Trushkevych – teaching statement
Previous Teaching Experience
I strongly feel that teaching is very important and fulfilling. I have always held
generous scholarships that did not require any teaching duties, therefore, I have voluntarily
taken extra efforts to teach and to become a good teacher.
To start with, I obtained an additional qualification of a teacher, awarded by the Lviv
National University, Ukraine, (1999). To obtain it I had to take the (optional) courses in
Pedagogy, Methodology of Teaching Physics, and Psychology as well as to have some
practical teaching experience. The latter was provided by teaching physics at various levels to
students 11 to15 years old.
In Cambridge I gave tutorials to undergraduates in small groups (typically two
students). The duties included marking homework, problem-solving and helping with the
understanding of the course. One of the most exciting subjects to teach was “Radio
Frequency Electronics” to 3rd year undergraduate students. It was most challenging because it
– unusually – involved designing circuits – a task which not many students were comfortable
with initially. I had to give an additional tutorial to some of them. It was very inspiring to see
them all starting to think freely, like engineers should, not bound to books or lecture notes.
My load was about 4 hours per week (the course took one 8-week term per year) in 2002-
Later, in 2007 I gave tutorials for a physics course “Oscillations and Waves” to a
couple of mature 2nd year undergraduate students with very different level of academic merit.
To make sure both students benefit from the supervision I often asked a more advanced
student to explain the question to the student who failed to solve the task. It was very useful,
as the one learned an important lesson of building argumentation and formulate thoughts,
while the other could get the needed explanation at his pace. I would then encourage the
student with the worse performance to prepare and explain another task for next meeting.
Since 2007 I have been informally working on a one-to-one basis with 4th year
project students (3 students, one in each year, Easter term only), assisting a member of the
academic staff. I taught the use of equipment, safe practices and generally guided their
projects. Two of these students have since taken on PhDs in our Department.
This year I am demonstrating laboratory course on Electrical instrumentation to
groups of 10 1st year undergraduate students (4 hours per week, 8-week term). Also, I have
developed a plan for a mini- / midi- project for the Photonics Doctoral Training Centre
shared between Cambridge University and the University College London (it is at the
proposal stage at the moment). The projects are for several months and are supposed to
introduce doctoral students to various aspects of the Experimental Photonics.
Statement on Teaching
I have enjoyed teaching a lot. In my understanding the main aim of teaching is not
just to pass the knowledge, but to show methods and approaches how to solve problems, how
to obtain the necessary information, and how to think critically. And most importantly –
inspire enthusiasm and confidence, and give a good example as a researcher. I have
experienced two very different teaching systems, and was an international student myself
(and understand the difficulties it poses). Therefore, I am in a particularly good position to
work with a multinational vibrant student community, like the one I expect to find in any