My teaching philosophy can be described best as an emphasis on learning and critical thinking. I believe that an instructor must show interest in the subject and a passion for learning, such that students are more likely to put forth the effort to learn the subject. As a result, my role as a teacher is to effectively convey my eagerness and enthusiasm to learn the subject with them. Also over the years as a student, first as a teaching assistant, and now as a full-time instructor, I have realized that learning a subject does not simply involve reading the material, taking some exams and getting grades, but it also involves critical thinking in order to gain knowledge which ultimately leads to intellectual maturity. From my experiences, I have found that in most cases, students entering a college or a university are not aware of this aspect of learning. My goal as a teacher is to facilitate students in achieving this objective.
In order to be able to emphasize learning and critical thinking, I have confidence that a teacher should necessarily have knowledge of the material in-depth and the ability to communicate it to students. Therefore I put in a lot of effort in mastering the material that I have to present, and then before presenting it to the students, put myself in their place and remind the lecture that I would be giving. During this process, I repeatedly ask myself the question that if I were a student in the class, would I understand the material that is being discussed. If I have even the slightest doubt that some students might find it difficult to grasp the idea, I look out for alternative explanations which could transmit the material in a better way. To that end, I also create examples that would help them comprehend the concept clearly.
To achieve my objective of critical thinking, I believe that I must create an interactive and engaging learning environment as an educator. To encourage the participation of even the least interested students in class, I have used different pedagogic techniques. For example, I regularly give handouts to the students which contain many questions in the form of fill in the blanks, partially filled tables and blank graphs which the students are required to fill during the lecture. I have observed that students enjoy answering these questions and it also goes a long way in instilling in them the confidence that they can do it.
I have strong confidence in the advantage of continuous assessment, as a result, I constantly conduct short quizzes, varying from ten to fifteen minutes which involve definitions, multiple choice questions and some problems. I make it a point to discuss each and every quiz and exam to explain some of the commonly made errors. To remove the misconception among students that economics is nothing more than the study of abstract models, I give real life examples so that students can see what the models are trying to explain. Before moving on to a new topic, I always motivate the subject matter of the new topic and link it with the previously covered topic. I reckon that effective teaching revolves around the creativity of the teacher to link sequential ideas so that they do not appear as unconnected ideas to the students. Also, it is very important to me that my syllabus clearly conveys my expectations and goals and makes the grading scheme a transparent one.
I have been fortunate to learn the art of teaching from my teachers, my fellow teaching assistants and also other instructors. I have always tried to take the good aspects of their teaching like clean board-work, clearly labeled graphs, lucid explanations of seemingly difficult subject matter, effective mentoring and advising, etc and complement it with my teaching style. As a graduate student at the University at Buffalo, I was very active as an educator. I have about 9 years of teaching experience at college level in a variety of different classroom settings. I have had the opportunity to serve as an instructor, recitation instructor, and tutor. I have been the primary instructor for Introduction of Econometrics, Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Theory of Microeconomics and the recitation instructor for Intermediate Econometrics. In addition, I have been teaching full-time from 2012 fall semester at Bloomsburg University of PA.
Teaching varied courses at different levels at the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, and Bloomsburg University has been an enriching experience for me. In this process, I have learned to adapt my teaching style to the requirements at each level of the course and have always tried to synchronize rigor with simplicity.