I know without a doubt that a solid business education can strongly affect and impact the world through serving the needs of nearby communities. It is these experiences that have informed my perspective on the vital importance businesses have on the community, and it is that message that I stress and instill in my students in each and every one of my classes.
My teaching philosophy has been directly influenced by my entrepreneurial experiences, personal education, and teaching and serving in the community. To accomplish an optimal learning environment, I have four main objectives for each student’s educational experience in my class:
· Relevance: to stress the connection between my classroom and the professional world they will be a part of upon the completion of their education.
· Facilitation: to challenge and then facilitate students’ individual critical thinking, analysis and writing skills.
· Mentoring: to enhance students’ own self-awareness and understanding of perhaps previously unknown capabilities.
· Community Involvement/Service: to understand and incorporate the social, political, economic and cultural events that impact the material we cover, as well as how the material affects the community.
With each objective, it is necessary to incorporate foundational knowledge and understanding of the course material through theory and practice as a way to utilize all aspects of the learning environment and to create a more versatile and capable student.
To create an inspired student, it is imperative that the teacher shows passion and enthusiasm for the material as well as showing the relationship between the course content and the professional world. By sharing this connection and framing the information in real world situations, the students are more inclined to delve deeper into the material and fully engage in how the material will help them beyond their current university course. My goal is to create a student that realizes that his/her education is a lifelong process that they alone control and that their learning does not stop once they leave college with their degree.
In addition to learning theories and business philosophies, students must be exposed to current practices and issues that dominate the "real world" environment. To ensure quality education in my class, I continually conduct a "reality check" to ensure that I am teaching the skills and knowledge that students will actually use in practice and that are deemed to be of importance by potential future employers. Some of the techniques I use are:
- Membership and active involvement with local and national arts and business organizations.
- A careful, on-going study of arts and business practitioner literature.
- Maintaining personal relationships with the business community.
- Continuing prevalence in my professional fields – marketing, public relations, communications, entrepreneurship, and quality management.
My main function as a teacher is to expose students to a range of materials and perspectives and to encourage them to develop their own critical thinking and analysis of the presented information. It is also vital that my students not only learn how to think critically, but also how to formulate their own opinions and then be able to articulate those thoughts in a clear and cohesive manner. To accomplish those tasks, I strive to create a learning environment that facilitates and encourages students to become passionate and inspired about their own education and to become lifelong learners, collaborators and mentors in their community long after their coursework is completed.
The marketplace can be unforgiving and students who are not well prepared academically will likely have greater difficulties adapting and succeeding after graduation. I believe it is the job of the educator to best prepare students by creating a curriculum that is challenging. It has been my experience that students rise to the level of expectation and with support and positive critique they are able to learn valuable skills necessary to be successful in business. Techniques that I employ into any course are:
· Requiring written and verbal presentations from each student - the ability to communicate being an essential skill that must be developed.
· Require critical thinking and teaching students how to do formulate and articulate opinions in a cohesive manner.
· Structuring courses so that success requires a fair amount of work.
· Utilizing testing or project procedures that tap the student’s ability to integrate material they have learned.
I understand that each student has very different reasons for pursuing a business education. It is essential that my passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter instill in the students a desire to continue to explore, learn and contribute in my classroom and in the community beyond. It is key for all of my students to realize that there is a place for each of them in the business world and that their education is just the first step in this journey. Therefore, my first responsibility as a professor of business is to be their guide and mentor through their educational and professional careers.
My role as a teacher is not only as a source of knowledge, but also as a source of support, passion and enthusiasm for the material covered in class, in hopes that it will translate into a productive dialogue between the students and me. For it is through that dialogue that we all become more invested in the material, which allows us to better serve the education experience, and ourselves. Techniques that I employ in the mentoring area are:
· Striving to create an optimal learning experience through a collaborative exchange between the students and the instructor.
· Creating a learning community in which each student is an invaluable part of the collaborative process.
· Trying to keep up to date with the market place by maintaining close contacts with former students and employers.
It is my foremost goal that each student that I am in contact with fully understands that being a member of the business community is a privilege. To become a student of business is to make a serious commitment not only to themselves but perhaps more importantly to the community around them as they strive to question, inspire and inform their world through the power of service and the stories it tells. As scholar and writer Paul D’Andrea observes, “Theories divide, stories unite.” Therefore, it is our responsibility to foster the construction of a community where these stories can be created, nurtured and supported so that they can be shared. It is through these stories that communities have the power to shape, challenge and change the society and culture in which we live. As an educator, it is my responsibility to make sure that each of my students understands the commitment necessary to become a member of this integral community and to realize the immense joy and fulfillment that can be found in being part of the team that will create the next generation of the world’s stories.
If during their class-time with me I have been able to inspire them to go beyond what is asked and have instead created a student that requires more from the class than just what is expected, then I have been a successful teacher that has helped to create a person that will contribute to their chosen field and to their community.
To facilitate these objectives, I organize class time and assignments to incorporate a wide variety of learning methods and activities so that all students will be empowered to contribute, regardless of their own previous perceptions of their strengths and weaknesses. Understanding that business education must include a strong base in theory as well as practical applications, I strive to incorporate the latest advancements in our field to allow for the optimal learning experience. Our time in class is structured around lectures, large and small group discussion, class presentations, visual and aural elements, and guest speakers, when appropriate. Class assignments consist of group and individual projects, research and response papers, journals, essays and tests as needed.
By utilizing all of the learning tools that are available (video, film, television, internet, and professional or expert guest speakers, etc.) I can reach students who learn best in a wide variety of ways providing for open dialogue between each student and myself. To further enhance an open and encouraging learning environment I stress that I am always available to answer questions, for individual consultation to discuss projects or to review rough drafts of the writing assignments. By being clear and open with my expectations of the assigments and class participation, I hope not only to empower and encourage the students to do well, but also to stress that I am invested in them and that we are a team working for their success in the classroom and in their professional career.
My ultimate goal is to see each of my students graduate from the classroom to the professional world in a seamless step so that they can immediately become contributors and collaborators within the community around them. That is my foremost goal each time I step into the classroom, knowing that as much as I demand from them, I must also require the same commitment from myself, serving as their bridge between the classroom and the professional business community. I take this commitment seriously.
Education is not the filling of the pail,
but the lighting of a fire.
--William Butler Yeats