Looking at a new approach forteachers and students
Fizza Sabir ,an international PhD candidate uses her background in psychology and education to look atteacher approachability.
Teacher approachability is not a topic that immediately grabsyour attention, but it is an essential part of what being ateacher is about. For Fizza Sabir, a PhD candidate at theUniversity of Adelaide,how comfortable undergraduatestudents feel about approaching their teachers with questionsor for advice is part of a larger look at enhancing therelationship between teacher and student to deliver a better working and learning environment.The topic of teacher approachability and the connectionsbetween wellbeing and adult attachment style combine
elements of two of Fizza‟s passions –
psychology andeducation. Taking the idea of adult attachment theory, she willinterview undergraduate students and teachers back inPakistan. She will then look at the personal characteristicsteachers identify as essential to approachability and thosedetermined by their attachment style and see if they match qualities students flag as the most
important when looking at a teacher‟s approachability.
“I haven‟t seen any research where attachment theory, approachability, wellbeing have all been
integrated. I think w
hat I‟m doing is different,” Fizza says.
Adult attachment theory is a psychology theory, looking at the attachment styles adults developthrough life. Most of the research Fizza has seen support that teachers of school children who fall
into the “secure”
attachment style are much more approachable, and make for better teachers.While the application of a psychology theory to education and teaching styles is not unheard of,the fact that Fizza focuses on these issues at an undergraduate level is what makes her workunique.Initially studying psychology as an undergrad, she also worked as a teacher in private schools inbetween continuing her studies, both in Australia and Pakistan. She returned to Australia inFebruary 2012 to begin her PhD, after working as an Assistant Professor at the Fatima JinnahWomen University.
“When I could see some girls wanted to discuss some problems with other teachers, and theywere unable to, they would instead come to me and say, „tell us how we can solve this problem‟
hen you are an educator you think about when you were a student. I can recall when I was astudent, how difficult it was for me sometimes to approach certain teachers.
“They want to go for help, but they can‟t. Because of the barriers, because of the
have. I think this is what brought me to this topic,” Fizza says.