Learning and Teaching Philosophy

I love to learn and consider myself a lifelong learner. As a lover of learning myself, it is exciting to be a part of helping and facilitating that learning process for others. I teach business at College of the North Atlantic Qatar and have done so for the last 4 years. Specifically, the courses I teach currently include: marketing, retailing, entrepreneurship, sales and project management. In Business we have a lot of content to discuss – (push through?) and prepare our students for assessments, but I try to make the journey as fun as I can.

In term of innovation and new ideas I like to change it up and try new things in the classroom and I am delighted to be taking this program as I am learning so much about learning, about what I do as a teacher and about my teaching style. Most importantly it makes me think about how I can improve. As a friend of mine said “you must treat the profession like your own business”. I feel very successful by taking that philosophy to heart.

I spent over 25 years in a variety of exciting and fast paced industries such as technology, telecommunications and consumer packages goods like food and beverage. I worked for some huge companies and some tiny companies and I was involved in 5 startups. I find myself in the classroom, full time for the last five years, teaching college/university level business in 4 different countries. I have lots of real life material and I like to use cases and field trips as part of the learning as often as I can.

My approach to the new term is always preparation. Which classroom? What does it look like? Did I manage to get a computer lab?. Lighting, technology, projector, smart board, Ketab, LanSchool. – arrangement of chairs and desks etc. I always use D2L and have used Moodle, Web CT and Blackboard – I am trying incorporate new technology as often as I can like Webify and Padlet and we are lucky at CNAQ as we have a teaching and learning centre that encourages, helps us to move forward with technology, teaching techniques etc. I have taken every course I can with them including the Instructional Skills Workshop where faculty have to prepare 3 lectures for the group and then face the jury for feedback. It was amazing and I learned a lot.

When it comes to the first day of instruction it is so very important although it often takes a week for the class to settle down with late arrivers etc. I try to make the students comfortable to ask questions from the first day. Teaching in the multicultural environment of Qatar with students from over 31 countries, and Qatari nationals who are in the classroom for the first time ever with the “fairer sex”, creates some interesting dynamics. It is important to make them feel comfortable because it not the environment they are used to and this is especially noticeable in first year classes. I like to start the week with some icebreakers such as “All About You” and Expectations”. All About You is some information about them that I keep to myself. I ask them to work together to discuss my “Expectations” of them ad what they expect from me. The information is very interesting and I am looking at putting it all together to see if I can find some trends amongst the data.

I like to spend time going through my Course Outline with a discussion of the Assessments, Learning Objectives, Timings of Assessments, Office hours, Contact information (these days I always hand out my mobile number but they mainly text me in this part of the world) and also the how and why of what we will be covering in the course. (Why do we need to learn this?). I have written many Course Outlines and several courses and I just completed rewriting my Project Management course. I continue with my own personal self-development to improve myself and the product that I provide to my customers which is my knowledge, experience and teaching methodology to make the material, interesting, understandable and help to commit the knowledge to long term memory in a safe and fun environment of respect.

I am happy to share the experience I have from industry and I do tell some stories, as well as pass on the knowledge given to me by my clients, colleagues, and all the others who teach me.

I like stories, and teaching is the best way to tell them – and to constantly improve the telling.

Cicero said: “The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”  I try, daily, to upset authority, including my own and make the classroom a fun place of learning, with a positive vibe and some humor throw in for good measure.

My name is Peter and I love to teach.

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