As a professor, my philosophy of teaching is informed by the lessons I have learned in the course of my teaching through failures and success. It is supported by my goal of helping students to think critically. To achieve this, I adhere to three principles: First, I assist my students to understand governments and public environments affecting their daily lives. Secondly, I encourage students to discuss their own conclusions independently, as opposed to memorizing well-rehearsed materials. Thirdly, I stimulate the students to apply quantitative and conceptual techniques to analyze how government policies influence individual behaviors and social welfare. I feel I have achieved when I see delighted faces on a discussion or when students apply newly learned and mastered skills and jargons that help them to establish a difference in transforming practices and perspectives.
A great number of students at the collegiate level attend my class with a little background of associated subjects. Most of them come merely because it is a part of their requirement for graduation. For some students, my course is the only one they will take in public policy. Therefore, my responsibilities are to understand who my learners are, the kind of knowledge and experience they have, and their targets. With that in mind, I ensure that students discuss intelligently on the most essential parts of policy science after leaving the class with a renewed understanding. To achieve this, I tailor a curriculum that helps them to discard the common idea that public policy is only about governments and games of politicians to replace this notion with more comprehensive and critical views. These objectives have been reinforced through my serving as Guest Lecturer and Instructor. I enjoy teaching courses in political institutions and policy analysis as well as research methods. I believe this is the best approach to teaching college students to promote cooperative problem solving as well as to establish a foundation for collaborative practices.
I customized each course to specific styles and classroom dynamics to stimulate students' interests in the taught materials, as they experience in the real world. The courses were designed to be conducted in a seminar-style to address the politics of China and the political economy of East Asia. I tailored these courses to review systematically the Chinese contexts by comparing them with the United States ones to let students familiarize with outside political activities. I invite students to come up with their opinions on the discussed topics while directing the discussion to involve diversified arguments. In the quantitative course Social Statistics, it requires different instructional design to balance illustrative lectures and method application. Apart from concepts and formulas introduction, I divide the class time into lecture/practice and lab exercises to relate these methods and statistical software with real life.
When teaching courses, I particularly enjoy instigating students to involve into the discussion and express perspectives based on their diversified background and experience. Instead of only my voice and depositing information passively, I prompt students to assess critically and comprehensively each statement on any given topic. As an example, in the seminar-style course talked about the Chinese politics, I proposed several theories or models by posing questions after overall introduction to the basic concepts. Some of these include: What is the main and effective category for studying politics in China, Elite Politics, Factional Politics, Informal Politics, or Bureaucratic Politics? and How this theory of the policy does specifically affected the Chinese political system? Moreover, I also facilitate students to conflict views and opinions. For instance, when introducing political economy in China, I compare the arguments that Authoritarian State, Developmental State and Democratic State to describe the current Chinese development. As a result of this strategy, students can present with different sides of the argument and are imparted that discussion and a holistic perspective play vital roles in tackling real-world problems.
To enhance the application of methods to real-world issues, I combine introduced concepts into lecturing context with further describing their application as often as possible. Lecture-based classes urge students to get familiar with the concepts of social statistics and simultaneously provide examples of when and how these concepts can be used. I motivate students to think beyond memorization of materials covered in class by extra practical exercises related to daily experiences so that they can apply knowledge to real life. The other portion of this course is computer lab class. In this section, I place emphasis on how to use STATA and other data analysis packages under a diversity of circumstances by providing interdisciplinary exercises covering public policy, economics, sociology, and political science. To enhance students operational skills and reduce their concerns, I engage them and invite them to assist me handling lab exercises.
I strive to establish teaching as a two-way exchange between instructor and students. Teaching is, in my opinions, not just cramming information into students but an ongoing learning process for both sides. To enhance the mutual exchange, I try to make students feel welcome and approachable in and outside the classroom. Knowing each of their names in the first class by using photo roster is the first step to show students I really care about them and their learning experience throughout the semester. In addition, I make sure that students feel comfortable contacting me, at or out of my office hours, at their convenience either in person or by email. These small acts make huge differences in the relationship that I build with students.
I embrace my belief that instructor is to impart meaningful information and inspire students to make accomplishments through the application of their knowledge and thoughts. By embracing a constructivist approach to my teaching, I believe I motivate my students to make firm and logical decision in a real world setting through self-reflection and interpersonal relationships. The concept of active learning that I utilize during all my lectures promotes collaboration among the students rather than competition. I have applied this philosophy, and I have seen it benefit the learners by not only imparting knowledge by also equipping them with necessary life skills as well application of knowledge learned in class through creative and critical thinking This way, but students also benefit, and I have seen my work of teaching rewarding me immensely. So far, my ways of teaching receive positive feedbacks, and I will strive to continue achieving this goal throughout my academic life.
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