Are you teaching business courses or plan to teach business courses soon? Whether you are teaching business courses in a traditional classroom or online, you need specific tools and strategies to become effective with your instructional practice. This is why Dr. Johnson has written his book, Getting Down to Business: A Handbook for Adjunct/Part-Time Faculty Who Teach Business.
Regardless of the business discipline in which you teach, Getting Down to Business supports and enhances the instructional practices of teaching faculty. Dr. J shares tips, tools, techniques and adult learning theories to help new and experienced faculty effectively facilitate classes, engage with their course materials in more meaningful ways, and design business courses that integrate active learning strategies and improve student success. From transformational learning and rubrics to student motivation and effective facilitation techniques, Getting Down to Business will help faculty have more fun in classroom and sharpen their teaching skills.
What follows are excerpts from Chapter One.
CHAPTER 1 TEACHING BUSINESS: WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
Orientation to College and Adult Teaching
In the coming decades, teachers of college and adult students will be faced with many challenges. The influx of multicultural, multi-generational and multilingual students, the impact of technology, online learning and the admission of students with differing academic preparation have demanded the attention of educators. In addition, changing business, economic and political pressures throughout the world have impacted education and, you, the instructor.
You will feel the impact whether you teach in a continuing education program for business/industry or the military; in a liberal arts college with time-honored traditions and values; in a community college with an open-door policy; in a public research university with postgraduate programs; or in a distance education program. Your students will be more highly motivated, more challenging and in many ways more enjoyable to teach.
With the focus on accountability and the realization that there are established strategies and techniques for instruction, there is greater emphasis upon quality instruction. Adult students employed in business and industry expect a planned and organized classroom. It is no longer a question of whether there are going to be instructional objectives and strategies for teaching; it is a question of how skilled instructors are in developing and delivering them.
One of the most important factors, however, remains the hu- man element of teaching. If you enjoy being a teacher, there is nothing wrong with telling the students that you are there because you enjoy teaching. Being cheerful, open, and understanding is always an asset to good teaching. Students will like to hear your experiential anecdotes — share them. Look upon the class as a project. Adult students expect planning and preparation and will not rebel if they are held to higher standards. Be aware of your cultural and intellectual environment. Strive to be a good and successful instructor and your teaching experiences will be exciting, rewarding, and satisfying.
- Key to Success: Take a few moments before your first class to meditate about your reasons for teaching. This will do two things: it will encourage you to more clearly identify your personal goals and it will increase your confidence.
- Consider This: As with their full-time colleagues, teaching is still a vocation for many adjunct instructors, a calling to those individuals who enjoy being with people and feel an intrinsic satisfaction in helping others to grow.
What Business Students Need
All business students need knowledge “to go.” They need concrete and well-presented information. Business students want to advance in their careers or jump to new career paths. Students presented with business theories need to understand how those theories translate into practice in the workplace. As your students read through the textbook and other assigned materials, they may not relate to the concepts or understand the true meaning of business theories until they interact with them in class discussions and through written assignments.
For business students, class discussions are particularly important, because the two-way communication allows students to present their viewpoints while learning about the perspectives and experiences of other students. This, in many ways, is the definition of business. Classroom discussions offer students the ability to ask questions, seek clarification, and receive guidance. Written assignments provide a less immediate form of two-way communication, and allow instructors to follow the logical development of students’ thought processes in order to tailor feedback that is corrective and supportive.
The inclusion of a case study, either within the class discussions or as a basis for a written assignment, allows students to take textbook theories and translate them into real-world applications. You can use formal case studies which have been published in scholarly journals, or find real-world examples in current business publications. Your class could study a successful business then discuss and analyze the reasons for the company’s success. You could also select and analyze a successful business leader in a business management class. Why not develop a hypothetical case study based on your business experience and background? The purpose of a case study is to promote the use of cognitive processing while expanding your students’ understanding of the business world.
Characteristics of Good Teaching
Using one’s mind in the pursuit of knowledge and at the same time sharing it with others is very gratifying. The responsibility for a class and the potential influence on students can be very stimulating. It remains stimulating, however, only so long as the instructor continues to grow and remains dynamic.
The qualities of good teaching are quite simple:
- Know your subject content.
- Know and like your students.
- Understand our culture.
- Possess professional teaching skills and strategies.
Some characteristics that students look for in good teachers are:
- Being knowledgeable, organized, and in control.
- Getting students actively involved in their learning.
- Helping students understand the course objectives and goals.
- Being a facilitator, not a director.
Many kinds of communication exist in every classroom situation. You must be aware that facial expressions and eye contact with students, as well as student interactions, are all forms of communication. It is your responsibility to ensure that classroom communication is structured in a positive manner. Communication starts the moment you enter the classroom for the first class session. The communication methods you use during the first class and the initial interaction with students are indicative of the types of communication that will exist throughout the course.
Just as students have styles of learning, faculty have their own styles of teaching. Whether your style is one of planned preparation or a natural development, your style is important. For example, an instructor who emphasizes facts in teaching will have difficulty developing meaningful discussions with students who have progressed to the analysis stage of their learning. It is not important that part-time instructors modify their behavior to match that of students. It is important, however, that part-time faculty recognize their own teaching styles and adapt teaching processes, techniques and strategies to enhance their most effective style.
To Purchase Getting Down to Business: A Handbook for Adjunct/Part-Time Faculty Who Teach Business please visit: Getting Down to Business
About Dr. Johnson
Dr. Johnson has worked in the field of higher education and distance learning since 2005. He specializes in distance learning, adult education, faculty development, online teaching, career management, and career development. Dr. J has a Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement, and a Master of Business Administration, MBA. Presently Dr. J is a Core Faculty member for one of the premiere online universities, fulfilling his life's mission to teach, mentor, write, and inspire others.
As a scholar practitioner, Dr. J was published in a scholarly journal and he has been a featured presenter at an international distance learning conference. He has also published over 200 online articles about adult learning, higher education, distance learning, online teaching, and career development.
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Dr. J founded Afforded Quality Writing in 2003 to offer skill-based resume writing and strengths-based career coaching. Dr. J helps hundreds of clients each year by providing a well-written and highly effective resume, along with instilling in them a renewed self-confidence and sense of purpose.
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