Change the world


Known for his novel approach to teaching and learning, Dr Paul Tai-Hing, a lecturer at the 2nd Avenue Campus’ Business School in the School of Management Sciences shares how his life experiences informs his teaching and learning approaches.


Growing up in Korsten, Port Elizabeth and staying in a store room at the back of a shop on a cold cement floor during the dark days of apartheid, Dr Paul Tai-Hing started his schooling career at Assumption Convent (now St James) in Schauderville. Even in the years of 1969, Schauderville and Korsten were said to be a gang-ridden haven, filled with drugs and gangsterism. Whilst growing up in harsh conditions, Paul’s parents were determined to give their children a higher standard of education, as was repeatedly told to him by his father growing up, that “Education is important – it is the one thing that no man can steal away from you”. With this family ethos being a driving force to receive quality education, Paul was finally accepted into Marist Brothers College in Walmer where he began his journey of receiving education with a foundation of hard work, a strict ethical code, and within a multiracial environment.

Despite his living conditions growing up; today Dr Paul Tai-Hing stands as recipient of the 2016 Excellent Teacher of the Year award and when asked what receiving the award meant to him he said, “The award is an affirmation that the work I am doing with students is valued and that my teaching methodologies are of a recognised and acceptable standard. The award lends credibility to my various works in the field of teaching and learning because I am able to support my practices through academic literature.”

Dr Tai-Hing method of engaging with students contributes to his success in teaching and learning. In an interview, he explains that it was only when he started to pursue studies as a part-time working student that he started to excel in it. He shares that his years of failure hold him in good stead today to understand the plight of struggling students and it helps him to understand the types of support systems he requires to have in place for them.  He continues to say that, “These years of failure also taught me an important lesson: pursue academic studies in the field of your passion and interest. It is only then that one will succeed.”

Through this lesson learnt Dr Tai-Hing has been able to build relationships with students in a teaching and learning environment. In addition to his ethical approach; Dr Tai-Hing explains contributing factors to his teaching approach as that from the Teaching and Learning Committee Forum (TLC), The Community of Practice Forum (CoP), The Academic Development Department, The Value of ‘Excellence’ as stated in the Values Statement of the university and the supportive environment of his department and the School of Management Sciences.

Tai Hing is best known for the practical application of work he brings into the classroom says he has always maintained that, “teaching is different to training and I am here to train students to become the future leaders of business. “

It was in a small grocery store in Aloes, Port Elizabeth where Tai-Hing learnt the lessons of hard work, business management and entrepreneurship; lessons that he says he has taken with him into his adult life; lessons that he finds himself teaching his students today. He shares that very often he finds himself in the classroom quoting various lessons his father taught him. For example “Always ensure that the customer has a good experience when they walk into your business. You only make money when that same customer returns to your business.”

Dr Paul Tai-Hing’s teaching philosophy is informed by the well-known quote: “The shackles of poverty can only be broken through education”. He shares that, “through the hard work of my parents, I trust that I have lived a life that epitomises this philosophy and proves to be a motivation for the thousands of students whom I have taught and will still teach. After all, I have no doubt that I am not able to change the world completely; however, through my students, I know I am able to make the world a more tolerable place within which to reside.”

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