Professional Teaching Philosophy, Strategies, Objectives
My overall goal, as a teaching professional, is to facilitate a quality learning experience for my students. I believe that this is done in many ways one of which is adherance to School of business "culture" and set of performance expectations for students in colaboration with professional colleagues. Education that will take our students “places” and when they are in those places their knowledge and skills will lead the world to demand to know “the place’ that is the source of what they have. USIU the place in the world . I achive this goal by doing athe business of the classroom in the school of business in a university that means business.
The classroom is like a business. As strange as that may sound, the similarities are striking. Businesses service customers using well-defined processes. Successful businesses focus on the customer. They measure success by customer satisfaction, continually monitor their processes to ensure high levels of service and seek opportunities for improvement to remain competitive. In the classroom our business is educating students; the product -- knowledge. Like a business, the classroom is process-oriented, there are two -- teaching and learning. In this analogy, the student is customer, and the instructor, a service provider. We measure success by student satisfaction; when service is good, the customer is happy. Successful classrooms are student-centric, and students are successful. Students are happy when learning is challenging, and the challenge is stimulating. The analogy continues. Business is a relationship and so is the classroom. Business-people know their customers. More importantly, successful business-people care for their customers, and so do instructors.
This analogy frames my view of the classroom and underpins my teaching philosophy. All activities and events in the classroom revolve about the students--my customers. They are the sole basis for the classroom's existence. To this end, I use a basic set of RULES and STANDARDS which I follow when teaching students and conducting the business of the classroom. These rules and standards revolve around the following business principles:
• CONTRACT . . . establishes classroom service levels and forms student expectations.
• CUSTOMER . . . creates the service needs and determines quality levels.
• PROCESS . . . combines learning and teaching and delivers the product to the student.
• GOALS . . . achieve high levels of student satisfaction through continuous improvement
Typically, the business transaction begins with a contract. It specifies the business arrangement and service description. The contract informs the customer and provides a formal vehicle for acceptance. This is achieved by issuing the course outline at the beginning of the semester.
RULE #1 -- ESTABLISH A CONTRACT BETWEEN STUDENT AND INSTRUCTOR.
The classroom contract is the course syllabus; it is a mutual agreement between student and instructor; it specifies deliverables of the instructor and responsibilities of the student -- course objectives, prerequisites, schedules, delivery dates, special assignments, performance measurement, etc. Lengthy contracts are boring. And contracts loaded with terms and conditions intimidate. Consequently, contract packaging is important -- complete, clear, concise and attractive. Syllabus follow the same principles. Although unsigned contracts, course syllabus are one of the "early signs" for the student -- the initial impression of the course, the instructor, and class culture. Good syllabus induce students to "buy into the course" and the instructor to "deliver" -- a commitment by both. (APPENDIX 1)
THE CUSTOMER AND STUDENT.
Customers demand good service and deserve it. They know when service is good and when it's not. So do students. Business begins and ends with customers, and business-people know and understand their customers. I understand my students.
RULE #2 -- KNOW YOUR STUDENTS.
The USIU student body is diverse -- work and family responsibilities compete for their time and affect their classroom performance, attendance, assignment completion, schedule compliance, etc. But USIU students are also mature adults who are eager to learn and quite often highly experienced. The range of experience is broad and challenges the instructor to recognize each student as an individual with different needs -- seek balance within this diverse group while allowing each student to achieve her potential -- and maintain their interest in learning through active participation. Students know when instructors are sensitive and care about their educational needs. Knowing the students is essential to creating a positive learning environment and can be accomplished in a number of ways.
THE PROCESS OF EDUCATING.
Servicing customers is process-driven, and educating students is not much different. The classroom is a virtual crossroad where processes converge -- the student learning process and the instructor teaching process. Both occur independently but are complementary; they are the heart of the classroom where service is provided -- delivering knowledge to the customer. Everything done to this point is preparatory. Now the customers want value -- their "money's worth." Students want to learn, they want knowledge, and they want it to be fun. They don't mind working if it is worth their while. These are challenges for the instructor. The format of the teaching process may vary, but the cycle I follow essentially remains the same -- PRESENT, APPLY, ASSESS and REPORT. Learning should be an enjoyable experience for the student.
RULE #5 -- MAKE LEARNING FUN.
There are a number of ways to do this. Before returning to USIU this past year, lecture and individual problem solving were my preferred format. Present the theory, demonstrate its application and allow the students to work problems under supervision in class to reinforce the knowledge. This format works well in mathematics and statistics courses. While it is an effective teaching format, it was repetitive, somewhat boring and not much fun. It lacked variety. The alternative is cooperative learning. Where I still use Lecture particularly in a highly technical area like telecommunications or hardware-software architecture; but the application and problem-solving is all no longer individual. The students work in groups on some assignment and present it to the class(APPENDIX 2). Of course the demerits of group assignments require careful management. The assignments vary and expand the format from solving a real-world technical problem to analyzing a contemporary article from a their textbooks and I’m now on the move to introduce articles from technical journal. They enjoy this type learning for a number of reasons -- the problem is contemporary which they can relate to; the class tempo varies, and a change, particularly from lecture, is welcomed; and they are interacting with their classmates which is stimulating and fun. This student-subject bonding technique has worked extremely well in my classes and strengthened my format.
I can confidently say that to succeed in the classroom business, I have managed to make students to become actively involved and responsible for their own learning and development. This is a crucial component to education because students will have these skills for life, and their personal and professional experience will be forever enriched. The following six statements define more explicitly the ideas that I believe are fundamental to creating active and responsible learning in our classrooms and laboratories: Learning must be relevant to our students' lives if it is to have a lasting impact.
• We learn and think in new ways when we put our ideas and impressions down in writing and in practice. To this end I have I have weekly lab activities for students to practice and be engaged in thinking for each course besides the normal lecture.
• Learning occurs most naturally when individual activities build upon and connect to one another, gradually increasing in complexity and subtlety.
• Students who feel positive about their learning efforts learn the most.
• Students gain insight into their own learning when they help their peers to learn.
• Group endeavors and collaborative projects are essential to fully enhance intellectual, social, and personal development, however they should contribute a low % of the assessment.
As university professors, have I the opportunity and responsibility to positively impact the future of our society as we share our knowledge and values with our students. As professors, we must continuously strive for excellence in every facet of our personal and professional lives. The following statements in random sequence reflect my current beliefs about my role as a professor:
1) I believe that I have an obligation to work harder as a lecturer than I expect my students to work as students.
2) 1 believe that as a professor I have the responsibility of identifying a set of concepts appropriate for the course that a student should master.
3) 1 believe that learning is an equal partnership between students and the instructor.
4) Furthermore, I believe that students through their class-and-lab-related activities (e.g., reading assignments, project
participation, homework, internet research) have a shared responsibility with the instructor in providing an environment leading to a positive learning experience.
5) I believe that students should be given every opportunity to master the appropriate concepts, and that this mastery is more important than the grade a student receives.
6) 1 believe that there is a set of professional success attributes which should be integrated into the educational process which are as important, long-term educational goals as concept mastery.
7) 1 believe that an information systems and technology (IST) professor I have an obligation to demonstrate the integration of information systems concepts and techniques across the business curriculum.
8) I believe that as a teacher I must treat all students with respect.
After all, I have found the statement of Prof. Meoli Kashorda that “students remember what they did more than what they heard in class “ in a course are very practical. Indeed I have developed practical m annual with activities for every week to challenge and stimulate students.