Success has myriad meanings, but in an educational environment, a singular focus: students. Practitioners of pedagogy must support a scholar’s timely completion of a rigorous and relevant degree in preparation for a lifetime of anticipated achievement. The anonymous quote “success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do,” defines this dynamic.
I am inspired to embark on a journey of generative learning with my students. Generative learning links existing knowledge about a subject with emerging ideas, resulting in intense individual understanding. A generative learning approach asks students to actively engage material rather than passively listening to lectures. My students are often involved in interactive activities that challenge them to apply what they have learned.
Knowing relevancy is essential to discovery, I assign papers, presentations, and projects that provide a platform with which students can address personal or professional issues. Seeking to meet the differentiated needs of my students, I customize curriculum whenever possible. I also intersperse anecdotes from my professional experience managing people, products, and projects and invite my students to do the same. I often partner my students to prepare and present a course concept; flipping classes is also a strategy with which I have experimented. My classrooms host lively conversations that bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Believing education should create community, not competition, I encourage my students to compete with themselves, not with each other. I leverage technology to increase engagement, manage knowledge, and maximize learning, often mixing printed worksheets with online exploration. Whenever possible I invite guest lecturers or coordinate field trips to contextualize comprehension with the real world. Involving myself in student activities, I have served as an advisor for various student clubs. As relevant research opportunities arise, I identify suitable opportunities for students to get involved.
As an educator who has learned with students representing a range of realities in the United States and the United Arab Emirates, I am especially sensitive to the diverse challenges with which they might be contending. I am adept at working in cross-cultural educational environments where I must often adapt my teaching style to work with different cultural perspectives and varied levels of learning. Committed to my students’ confidence, I make myself available for advising; concerned with their comfort in class, I combine learning with laughter to always encourage their individuality.