Teaching Philosophy

The job of a teacher is not only to get education across to students, but also to teach in such a manner so that students can retain the information long after the semester is over. In order to do so, a class needs to be both informative and thought-provocative. This can be a challenge for many instructors, especially when the class gets larger in size. In my classes, I try to tailor the instruction in such a way so that students can find the course materials stimulating and informative, which I believe makes it easier for them to apply what they learned to the outside world. I teach both large and small classes, and so, I tailor my instruction method based on the class size to reach my teaching goals.

I have taught classes of different sizes – ranging from 15 to 120 students – at the University of Kentucky, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and Elon University. No matter how big the class is, I try to teach it in such as way so that students can link the materials that they learn in class with the outside world. For example, in every other class, I usually play a video clip that deals with some relevant issue pertaining to the real world. Afterwards, I ask the students to explain the clip using the material that they learned in class. At the end of every class, there is an in-class assignment where students work in groups to come up with an answer. I also try to incorporate whatever is in current news into everyday teaching. For example, during the Presidential elections of 2012, we discussed in class why measuring unemployment rates were such a contentious issue. I believe that relating materials from the course to the real world can help students better understand and appreciate economics, and this can provide them some incentives not only to retain the information that they learned in class, but also to take upper-level economics classes in the future. I also try to present relevant materials in class that are thought-provocative. When covering the topic of poverty in inner cities in urban economics, I asked students whether programs like Head Start and minimum wages can help to alleviate poverty. This way, students can see how they can apply their knowledge to explain the world around them.

Besides in class teaching, I try to engage in certain out-of-class activities that ensure that students are able to grasp the course material better. Some students want to learn more about other economic issues that we did not specifically cover in class, and I generally try to meet up with them to explain those issues. I also provide students with a lot of practice questions 2-3 weeks before the exam to give them ample time to go over them so that they can ask questions if they did not understand a specific topic. Nowadays, students are more inclined to email their questions rather than visit during office hours, and I try to reply to their emails in the shortest possible time.

Overall, my teaching methods have been appreciated by students. Thus far, I have received very good reviews and comments from students, and they appreciate my method of relating materials learned in class to current events taking place outside of class. Most of them also commented that the classes I teach are interesting and informative. However, this does not mean in any way that I have mastered the art of teaching. Teaching is definitely a learning process, and there is always room for improvement. Student feedback from evaluations provide some guidance for improvements, and I have incorporated some of those feedback in the subsequent classes that I have taught. In order to further build my teaching capabilities, I have attended workshops on improving teaching practices and how to effectively design a syllabus. I plan to continue my education in pedagogy. By being a perpetual student in the field of teaching pedagogy, I hope to further improve my art of teaching for the benefit of students.