Teaching Statement

1. Teaching Philosophy

 

“[Education] establishes in the place where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relationships that the meaning of the act lies.” -- adapted from Small (1998)

 

 

While ‘music making’ is the original subject of the above quote, I believe that the importance of relationships also applies to educating students about organizational studies. Music-making, and from personal experience (I play piano since I was 6) I can confirm that, serves as a clear metaphor for understanding the role of relationships between people working together in organizations, since both music and organizing involve linking various elements together in a meaningful way for some valued outcome. As an instructor, I aim to connect students’ experiences with core concepts in organizational research through the class materials as well as through the working relationship I establish with my students as co-educators or co-performers. One goal I hold is the application of research to real-life organizational contexts. A second goal is developing knowledge of scientific tools and analytical skills. Such goals involve several elements and practices, which are all tied to students’ learning through experience, as outlined below.

 

My main goal for teaching and learning is to have students actively apply the theoretical concepts they learn in class to understand behavior in a variety of organizational situations. For example, I have developed assignments in which students analyze the knowledge creation in the organizational context. Knowledge creation and the foundation of organizational memory are considered as a major factor, affecting organizational performance and survival. In this framework, one of my scientific goals is to engage students in the organizational knowledge creation process, by making them aware of the significance of knowledge in modern business environment and by motivating them to produce new ideas and models regarding the knowledge creation and preservation in organizations. My second goal for student learning is to educate students about the usefulness of scientific methods of inquiry as means for understanding organizational contexts. My students have used both quantitative (e.g. surveys) and qualitative methods (e.g. participant observation and interviews) in group project assignments in which they choose team members, seek entrée into an organization and then design and execute surveys and/or interviews to address organizational behavioral concepts of interest. Not only do students learn how they can create knowledge about organizations in a meaningful way, but they also gain valuable teamwork experience and the opportunity to examine how they themselves enact the concepts discussed in class.

 

Currently,  I am working, in depth, in the scientific field of adult training methods.

In this respect, my teaching initiatives are reflected in the following statements:

 

  • Learning is a developmental process: Students must develop a capacity for self-direction, self-monitoring, and self-generation of ideas. In addition, students must learn how to formulate questions, conduct research, and write in a professional manner. In order to mature as a learner, a student must shed earlier identities, ways of thinking, and forms of self-expression. The process of intellectual maturation is often emotionally wrenching, for it doesn’t simply involve rejecting long held beliefs, it involves fundamental transformations in one’s self-perception, thinking, and behavior and modes of relating to others.

  • Conceptual learning: Advanced learning requires students to construct a conceptual framework, which allows them to integrate and organize new knowledge and information into a coherent structure. If students are going to construct a conceptual framework, it is important to give them opportunities to reflect and revisit important ideas repeatedly throughout a semester.

  • Learning has an affective dimension: Engagement is a key component of learning. Without engagement there is little motivation to learn. I believe that a successful teaching strategy needs hooks to stimulate student curiosity and interest.

  • Students learn best when they are engaged in active inquiry: Students learn most when they have opportunities to undertake tasks similar to those undertaken by professionals within a discipline.

  • Students need to critically engage primary sources: Students need opportunities to work on authentic problems using authentic kinds of evidence.

  • Experiential learning: This means learning by doing. Project-based learning gives students the chance to do original work. It might mean researching and writing a research paper, or undertaking an experiment or making a video.

  • Collaborative inquiry: One way to deepen students’ understanding is to develop collaborative projects that give each student a clear role and set of responsibilities.

  • The importance of dialogue: Despite appearances, learning is a social, not a solitary, activity. While many of us have had unhappy experiences with small group learning, we need to envision ways that students can contribute to one another’s intellectual growth through a process of intellectual give and take.

  • Students do not learn in a single way: To reach a wide range of learners, it is important to combine a variety of approaches, including demonstrations, simulations, lecture, discussion, and collaborative activities.

  • Reaching students at their own level: The early 20th century developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky wrote about the “zone of proximal development,” an awkward phrase that refers to that level of understanding that a student can reach with a teacher’s help. Thus, an instructor seeks to stretch and broaden a student’s understanding by identifying those areas that are within the student’s grasp—not too easy, but also not too difficult.

  • Classroom climate: Student learning can be enhanced or hindered by the classroom environment. A safe and stimulating environment encourages students to actively participate. Fostering such an environment requires instructors to be sensitive to individual differences and to make sure that students understand their expectations and goals and the steps they need to take to meet those objectives

 

In conclusion, teaching in this discipline should help make empirically informed knowledge relevant to students’ diverse experiences in organizations. Like music- making, teaching and learning involve the engagement of teacher, student, topic content and activities in a suitable blend and balance.

 

 

2. Teaching Experience and Effectiveness  / Professional Development

 

Courses interested in teaching: Organizational Behavior, Industrial Psychology, Marketing Management, Knowledge Management, Organizational Memory, Corporate Strategy, Strategic Management, Change Management, Leadership, Bargaining and Influence Skills, Developing and Managing High-performance Teams, Interpersonal Dynamics in Management, Leadership Development: Self-Awareness and Authenticity, Managing Professional Relationships.

''...no Great Mind has ever Existed without a touch of Madness...''

Aristotle