Winners of a teaching award say the human touch and monitoring the progress of students are their formulas for success. Six lecturers won the Fifth Teaching Excellence Award, organised by the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) for its teaching staff. Mok Hing-luen, senior lecturer of the Division of Social Studies, said he enjoyed a close relationship with his students. 'I believe in starting where the student is. I accompany them to every outreach programme. I never treat myself as their teacher. Rather, I consider myself as part of a team.' Mr Mok, who has been with CityU for nine years, stressed the importance of learning outside the classroom. 'I encourage students to learn through experience, and to observe. This is because we are talking about nurturing a future social worker, who should be aware of the needs of society. 'I allow students to organise activities by themselves and I help only if necessary. That way, they feel they are on an equal footing with their teacher,' he said. Mr Mok has won several awards during his 17-year working life. Peter Yu Kwan-ngok, Associate Professor of the Department of Physics and Materials Science, said his lectures normally lasted 15 minutes, with the rest of the time being set aside for exercises and discussions. 'It's hard to keep a person's concentration for more than 15 minutes. Students absorb better and faster through inter-active learning. My job is not to force them to learn but to guide them to think and to foster critical thinking.' Philip Ronald Chudley was honoured for the second time. He also won the award in 1994, his first year at CityU. The senior lecturer of the Division of Computer Studies said he adopted an open-door policy towards his students. 'Being approachable is crucial. E- mail helps a lot in this way. Students can now communicate freely without any restrictions,' he said. When Alan Davis joined CityU as an assistant lecturer of the Department of Accountancy in 1994, he noticed local students were passive and group-oriented. 'I wanted to change their habits,' Mr Davis, who is from the United States, said. His objective was to convince Hong Kong students that they could match their counterparts anywhere in the world. Associate Professor of the Department of Information Systems Mohamed Khalifa, who has been at CityU since 1995, said technology could be used as a bridge to enhance co-operation between students and teachers. Jonathan James Webster, Associate Professor of the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, joined CityU eight years ago. Dr Webster said a teacher should be a role model for students. 'The goal of learning is not just to keep pace with the advancement of knowledge, but also to take the initiative in advancing it,' he said.