This month's Faculty Spotlight is Lukasz Buczkowski, who began his career at Durham College (DC) as a student and is now teaching in the School of Skilled Trades, Apprenticeships and Renewable Technology.
Currently, he teaches the next generation of students using hands-on and virtual learning at DC.
Buczkowski studied at Durham College in 2012 before graduating from the one-year Mobile Crane Apprenticeship program. He went on to complete a three-year apprenticeship in Alberta before taking a job in Whitby to be closer to home.
He began teaching at Durham College in 2016 where he teaches in the Mobile Crane Apprenticeship program, as well as Rigging courses for post-secondary students.
Buczkowski tries to make his lessons very hands-on for his students.
“I would say my teaching style is very job-setting related,” says Buczkowski. “I try to simulate all the classes I teach as closely to the real-world application as I can.”
Buczkowski changes up his classes by sharing props with his students, including different rigging attachments and pieces to give students a feel for the materials. He also shows videos from the industry as a visual component.
“The best way I can engage the students is by changing things up in the classroom and in the shop,” says Buczkowski. “The students are used to watching the instructor talk and do a PowerPoint. So, I like to mix it up a little bit.”
He says having a hands-on class helps students to stay focused and engaged in his lessons. He adds if other teachers want to implement a similar method, the first step is just doing it.
“Just jump into it. Bring all of the props you think would be beneficial in the classroom. Even passing a piece around that the students don't know what it is, per see, and letting them guess or think as a group, leads to engagement in the students a little bit better in conversation,” says Buczkowski.
Another part of the student's education includes the use of six simulators that simulate crane running scenarios. This gives students the opportunity to see what it's really like to operate a crane.
Buczkowski says the college is currently working to get a Virtual Reality (VR) to further implement more hands-on training for his students. He adds that these tools could make teaching a lot easier for professors and hopes the college can implement them in the future.
“There's a lot of new things, hopefully, coming for the crane department,” he says. “I'm really looking forward to being a part of it and to make the program much better.”
Written By: Jacklynne Graves, Third Year , Journalism - Mass Media Student