While working towards my doctoral degree, I was blessed to serve as a teaching assistant and an instructor of record. I taught undergraduate courses independently for 7 semesters and served as teaching assistant for 5 semesters. Students evaluate my classes at 4.05/5.00 on their evaluation survey. I also got the UTD President’s Teaching Excellence Award Nomination and Honored Mention in early 2018. My teaching philosophy can be concluded by three key words: Informative, Interactive, and Creative.
The core of my teaching philosophy is to help students develop their independent learning skills and economic thinking. To improve independent learning, I first try to deliver information accurately and efficiently. My informative lectures encourage my students to find problems and to raise their own questions as an extension of the information covered in my class. My role is to help them find a suitable way to solve these problems and to answer their questions. As they experience more problems and solve more questions, they'll develop advanced economic thinking skills and find their own ways to solve problems and answer questions. I always tell my students to learn something instead of just earning credits and getting an acceptable grade. To convey material clearly to students with diverse learning styles, I develop different approaches to explain a single concept. I also embrace and support a team culture, utilizing student feedback to improve my own performance and encouraging students to engage each other in their learning.
My courses are designed to be interesting and interactive. Apart from informative lectures, I also strive to be interactive in class. Interaction makes students feel that I'm paying more attention to them and I can tell from interactions whether the students are following me. While I actively encourage questions and participation I also understand that not all students like to actively engage in class and I thus remind students that I am available outside of class as well. Outside of class I hold review sessions, office hours, and talk with students about their specific interests. As a result, my classes incorporate current events, mathematical demonstrations, video clips, and various class activities related to the lecture to further engage students with the material.
The most interesting key word of my teaching philosophy is creative. I provide my students with simplified lecture notes specific to my course that contain definitions, notation, and references. During class I enrich the simplified lecture notes with examples and practice questions that facilitate better understanding of the material and improve their practical problem-solving skills. I find that the simplified lecture notes are effective in encouraging students to discover the mechanisms and approaches underlying the definitions and theories. Preview questions are always given before each chapter, and students are encouraged to discuss these questions in class based on their review of the material.
Everyone has his or her right to obtain knowledge. Everyone also has a right to be treated fairly. I keep my bottom line that to be fair with all students in my teaching and grading. On my own initiative, I make efforts to improve my grading policy from semester to semester based on student feedback. Human behavior is dynamic and a course that is designed to better understand the implications of people doing the best they can should reflect this aspect. I continually modify my courses based on current research, new class resources, and student feedback. I also strive to keep improving my teaching skills by talking with professors in my department and learning from them. I was enlightened by many of my professors when I did this as an undergraduate student. I believe no one is born as a perfect teacher. This belief motivates me to continue improving and trying to be a better teacher.
The University of Texas at Dallas
President Teaching Award Nomination 2018