Teaching Philosophy and Methodology

 Teaching Philosophy

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
 – Winston Churchill

One of the most rewarding activities in life is the ability to give back to others the knowledge, wisdom, or experience that one has acquired. My teaching philosophy is based on the principle that we are each given gifts; it is my personal obligation to share my gift of teaching with students. My motivation is the intrinsic satisfaction of seeing others grasp information, learn new skills, and build knowledge foundations. I desire to be a role model for students as many of my professors were for me. The specifics of my teaching philosophy can be summarized in three areas: (1) teaching beliefs, (2) teaching evidence and examples, and (3) thoughts on education.

  1. My teaching beliefs are equally focused on theory and practice. I feel that it is essential for students to build a core foundation of knowledge about a given subject area and increase the retention of that material through real-world examples and assignments. In order to gain the fundamentals, it is important to focus on all three modes of learning: visual, auditory, and kinetic. Some students learn best visually, others by hearing, and still others by doing. A teaching approach that incorporates sufficient amounts of all three methods is likely to produce the greatest value to a classroom of students.To accomplish course learning objectives, I use a variety of in-class and outside-of-class activities for an integration of knowledge with previous student learnings and life examples. Second, I incorporate my relevant current research in class discussions, showing my commitment to current trends and knowledge contribution to the area of marketing. Finally, I believe in learning student names as soon as possible to facilitate class participation and accountability.
  2. Examples and evidence of my teaching are focused on a combination of instructor-delivered and student-delivered presentations, application exercises, and real-world assignments that enable students to grasp business concepts. Instructor-given lecture presentations ensure that learning objectives are completely addressed and appropriate in-class exercises are designed to move the material covered from short to long-term memory.When properly implemented and guided, student presentations permit presenters to learn the ability to speak in front of groups, gain a richer and deeper understanding of the material, and receive structured feedback. The class benefits from hearing from a variety of individuals, and from learning from different perspectives and presentation styles. I vary the number and amount of time given to student presentations based on the overall level of knowledge, the skill of the students, the complexity of the material, and the size of the class. Student presenters are encouraged to add relevant examples, videos, and exercises to increase the absorption of the information. It is clearly an effective method of engaging and empowering students.Next, I believe in individual and small group exercises and role plays that relate course material to realistic business scenarios and business case studies. More involved, out-of-class assignments are always centered on one or more key learning objectives and often involve direct contact with business professionals. In addition, the use of self-critiques and peer evaluations improve student analytical skills and internal motivation. My favorite assignments include case discussions, job shadowing sharing sessions, and student presentations.
  3. In summarizing my thoughts on education, I feel it is a privilege to be a student and instructor throughout your life, gathering and disseminating knowledge. With a firm commitment to life-long learning, I am constantly searching and researching new and cutting-edge ideas in the areas that I instruct as well as the most advanced teaching methods to use. I believe in going well beyond textbook information to incorporate the most current trends into course material. Technology is critical; I leverage the use of online course management, instructor web pages for students, online examination via centralized testing center, and online form submission for peer evaluation to enable students to remain completely informed and frequently updated on course information and their performance.  Finally, teamwork is critical; I volunteer to teach courses for my peers when their schedule requires absence from their class. On average, I teach three course sessions each semester for other instructors.

Teaching Methodology

In order to execute my teaching philosophy, a systematic method of planning and continuous improvement is employed. I summarize my teaching methodology in four subtopics: (1) teaching specifics, (2) course structure and content, (3) self-evaluation and improvement, and (4) technology.

  1. The first step for developing teaching specifics for a course is to thoroughly understand the purpose of the course and the desired outcome for the students. By understanding the reasons for including the course in the curriculum, the proper approach to creating learning objectives is achieved. My syllabi are comprehensive in nature and are available online prior to course start, enabling students to review the information prior to making a permanent decision to select the course.
  2. In structuring my courses, my aim is introduce all course material in the first 80% of the course time frame. This reserves the last several class periods for assimilation and integration of the material as well as proper comprehensive evaluation. I believe in the incorporation of at least one research project or external case study that will require synthesis of the material covered in the course and organization of that material in a polished, professional manner. Further, the requirement of summarizing this research material into a 10-minute class presentation is another critical component of class learning, knowledge retention, and speaking skills development. Students are taught to evaluate each other in a positive constructive manner and to value the receipt of personalized feedback regarding their performance.Students are graded based on their performance on at least two written examinations conducted in the testing center to ensure fairness, efficient use of class time, partially automated grading, and mastery of basic course information. Meaningful course participation, role play exercises, student-guided instruction, and other writing assignments also contribute to a student’s final grade calculation. I believe that students should receive detailed, frequent, and timely feedback on assignments to facilitate  maximum development and refinement during the semester.
  3. Self-evaluation and improvement are critical in all professions, but are especially valuable for instructors. I seriously review and incorporate the feedback from course evaluations to revise and improve my methods of instruction and modes of student evaluation.I request formal written feedback midway through the semester in essentially the same format as the end of the course evaluations. This has two key advantages. First, it demonstrates to current students that you care and they can have input to make modifications to the course material or instruction method prior to completing the course. Second, it enables the incorporation of important suggestions for the following semester, since it is often several weeks into the following semester before school-administered survey results are available for review.Students are encouraged to provide the instructor with feedback throughout the course by fostering an environment of open communication and emphasis on the value of feedback. I have  attended multiple workshops and always gain new insights to incorporate into the classroom. Further, I see the importance of attending other classes and watching highly experienced, well-rated instructors for continuous self-improvement and refinement.
  4. There are several advantages to using the latest technology in the classroom environment. First, I leverage course web pages to continuously inform students of course assignments and activities as well as efficiently make any schedule changes. All handouts and presentations are online so students can easily download information prior to class and following presentations, instead of copying information from boards or slides. Second, the use of the centralized college testing center for scheduled quizzes and examinations is an efficient means of assessing students performance, ensuring that no cheating occurs and enables students to receive their results in a very short amount of time. Finally, I incorporate video and examples from the Internet in classroom discussions to make lectures more interesting, dynamic, and relevant. I am familiar with the use of classroom response devices and have experienced the value that they can add to the right classroom setting.