teaching: teaching philosophy

I believe that a high-quality educator should concentrate on improvement in two principal areas: (1) the student-teacher relationship, and (2) methods of teaching a class.

My ideas regarding what is required to be an effective, high-quality educator are based upon my own experiences both as a a student and as an educator, together with having read numerous publications related to the issue of being a high-quality educator. I have had the opportunity of studying under, and working with, some excellent academicians who paid particular attention to, and respected, the needs and opinions of their students. What I learned from them was that adherence to standards of excellence in teaching is vital to success in higher education and that teaching and research are constantly changing and integrally related processes.

It is my belief that excellence in teaching is achieved by:

  • Keeping up on the latest developments in one’s field or specialty.
  • Preparing interesting, high-quality classroom lectures.
  • Providing students with the necessary tools, motivation and support to enable them successfully to complete both independent and course-related research projects.
  • Maintaining active involvement in one’s field or specialty through the combination of innovative research, publications, scholarly paper presentations and the chairing of professional meeting committees.
  • Providing unique learning opportunities for students, such as field trips, live case studies, guest speakers, and cooperative learning opportunities.

The Student-Teacher Relationship

Receptiveness. I think it is vitally important that a teacher be open to students’ wants and needs. A teacher who exhibits arrogance and is introverted cannot be an effective educator. I constantly endeavor to create an academic atmosphere in which students feel comfortable in expressing their opinions and feelings, both in classroom and in face-to-face/student-professor situations. I believe that an effective educator must be not only an excellent professor, but a considerate listener and a good communicator as well. In order to create an open atmosphere where students are willing to communicate, a teacher must present his or her subject in a manner that is both stimulating and interesting; not always an easy task in an academic setting.

I firmly believe that, whenever possible, students should be encouraged to participate in a research project; either an independent research project in conjunction with their faculty or a course-related project with their peers. I make every effort to provide my students with this kind of experience.

Flexibility. Flexibility in one’s teaching method is a must for any effective teacher. I believe that being too rigid creates an atmosphere that tends to stifle the inquisitive nature of the student. Students should be treated as both equals and individuals, and particular attention should be directed at the recognition of the diversity of the students in a class. I strongly encourage students to pursue their own interests outside of class as a complement to their efforts towards achieving the course objectives. I also feel an atmosphere that fosters willingness to learn is a very important means for enabling both student and teacher to achieve academic success.

Sensitivity. It is imperative for the success of an educator that she be sensitive to both students’ needs and feelings; insensitivity towards either is a disservice to the students. Creating a negative or insensitive classroom environment leads to numerous problems including situations where student achievement is not recognized and questions are either unasked or unanswered.

The best experiences that I have had as a student and have experienced as a professor are associated with those environments where professors were responsive to my individual needs, and those of the other students. A professor who is always willing to help when assistance is needed creates an environment where students feel valued and will be willing to contribute to the educational process. The students’ interest and enthusiasm for marketing, as well as their commitment to their work, will only increase as a result of this type of environment.

The Successful Course: Methods of Teaching a Class

A successful course, in my opinion, requires planning and preparation. Objectives for what you want your students to learn should be identified for each class. These objectives can then be utilized to organize and serve as guidelines for the class presentations.

Effective and direct communication is extremely critical for successful interaction with ones students, and there are many aspects to effective communication. Communication of those expectations necessary for student classroom performance success should be made readily available to the students. In particular, there should be a defined set of criteria that makes it abundantly clear what is used in the evaluation of whether or not a student has met the course’s expectations. To facilitate this communication, one means is to incorporate the criteria into the class syllabus, which should always be provided to the students at the beginning of the term. At a minimum, the syllabus should include: (1) language which clearly states the objectives of the class; (2) the format of the presentations; (3) a schedule for lecture topics, (4) examination and/or project requirements; (5), grading guidelines. It is essential that the teacher be available for consultation, guidance and information, and communication outside of the classroom with the instructor, either during office hours or on an appointment basis throughout the term, should be encouraged.

Concluding Statement

It has been stated in numerous references that “teaching is both an art and a science;” I heartily agree with this statement. Creativity, practice, patience, and commitment are the artistic attributes that an effective teacher requires. Scientifically, an effective and successful teacher must utilize her research abilities to keep up-to-date with successful college instruction techniques which are continually evolving.