TEACHING



STATEMENT OF TEACHING PHILOSPHY

I was not a born educator; I was a born learner. When I chose to become one, the philosophy of my teaching was governed by the twenty-seven years I formally learned as a student. My self-reflective beliefs about teaching is shaped by learning; not teaching.

Permit me to fall back. As a student, I probably had a long list of qualities that made teachers great: preparedness, energy, mastery in subject matter, being organized, etc. In my observations I discovered that many of the aforementioned qualities which we normally attribute to superior teaching, though consequential, do not necessarily correlate to inspiring students and promoting deeper learning. I have come to believe that the teachers who truly teaching teach students to love learning. I anchor my pedagogy in three pivotal principles delineated in this tentative statement around Latin maxims that contributed to my overwhelming success as a student, and how I today strive to contribute to this triadic objective as a professor.

Audi Alteram Partem

A gardener does not grow plants. The plants grow themselves. The gardener creates a favorable environment for the propitious outcome, however. In the same vein, I believe creating a conducive environment is far more important than a list of preferred qualities a teacher may possess to student accomplishment and teacher success. The talk should not be one-sided. Making extensive use of Socratic approach to teaching, I create a learning environment where my students are freely allowed to ask questions, and as an instructor, I aim to have a dialogue and a relationship. The mutual respect for everyone in the classroom provides a family- like environment very conducive to learning, and in this nurturing milieu, I strongly believe students will be enticed to bloom. There are rules agreed by all students to follow, but I also give them the freedom to express their curiosity, passion, and creativity. The lectures may not be linear and rigid, but it would be coherent— always delightfully surprising, and never condescending. Beneath the seeming chaos and non-linearity, there is always an underlying sequence and method that aids edification.

Docendo Discimus

To cultivate a thriving learning ambience for critical listening and intellectual exploration, a great emphasis on the pedagogical strategies to arouse curiosity and capture attention needs to be invested. My physics teacher used to make steel balls fly in the laboratory experiments to demonstrate projectile motion for learners to learn by seeing. My English teacher used act out a scene of the short story from the prescribed text book for learners to learn by doing. I may have not chosen to study pure sciences or literature later in my life, but these teaching methods provoked interest among even the apathetic learners. Education is not about copying, memorizing, and keeping score. Ask any sports coach. You learn by doing. Involvement drives engagement. In my professorial adventures, I have become increasingly aware of the responsibility I have towards my MBA students to prepare them away from descriptive practices. For instance, I improvised a technique used by US Military and applied it to the conscious reality of the classroom.* for new ideas—like interactive learning experiences and human - focused classrooms—to flourish, I am moved beyond conviction that I need to promote and advocate a mission of learn by doing methods.

Non Scholae Sed Vitae Discimus

At the core of my pedagogical philosophy is the principle, “we learn not for school, but for life.” Education is a life-long process. Learning does not end on graduation day. Even while pursuing a course, learning for students does not need to stop when the class is over. As a student before and a teacher today, I’ve discovered that only when you inspire an audience they not only become overly attentive, but they are driven by an insatiable curiosity to know more, even after the class or course or program is over. It is often said that a good teacher teaches; a great teacher inspires. And, good is always an enemy of great. The desire to stimulate other people’s curiosity about the subject the teacher teaches revolves around engaging students to new knowledge, interpreting the knowledge shared, and applying the knowledge created. I have found that when students are taught with high rigor and when the knowledge is applied with high relevance, it adequately helps students to gain, retain, and use the knowledge imbibed. Students of today live in a well-informed world; they need inspiration - not teaching.

In closing, I’d like to underscore that to awaken students to the persuasive forces at work on their attitudes and behaviors is to awaken them to their responsibilities as citizens, friends, family members, and principled human beings. The experience of working with several hundred MBAs, however, has significantly altered my approach to communicating the value and importance of a heightened rhetorical consciousness. I have taught in a wide variety of settings—online, boardrooms, lecture halls, and large auditoriums. I have taught different audiences— undergraduate students, middle-level managers, full-time and executive-level MBA participants. I have taught courses across geographies and cultures—the US, Singapore, India, Middle East to mention a few. I have thereby experienced a multitude of cognitive styles presented by students in formal learning environment. It is when the students feel my passion for the subject I am teaching, and the sheer delight to share, I find success in empowering students to learn. It is my intention to continue along this pathway knowing that the journey is more important than the destination.

Read my article: Learn by Doing: Brand Battle in the Classroom