Some thoughts on teaching ...
and As I mentioned, teaching was not what I had in mind when it was time to say goodbye to high school. It took one "Aha" moment for me to realize where my path would lead me after looking back on an array of experiences in the travel industry. I believe that your teaching style is greatly influenced by past teachers you had through school, college and in life. They all impact your style and based on the varying experiences, you pick how to teach and what strategies to avoid.
The red thread through my students' feedback is that they see me as "fun, fair, and disciplined", and I am good with that. They don't need a new 40+ year old best friend, they are looking for someone who can guide and inspire them, and teaching is not a 'how cool can I be' competition. It's about helping them learn, to capture their passion for the profession they have chosen, and to teach them to not only survive but thrive in the tourism industry and personally. My main goal is to empower them in their critical thinking skills, and to coach them to be confident people on the professional stage and hopefully also in their personal lives.
My favourite part is when I can take students out of the classroom. Nothing I discuss in the classroom compares to the learning curve that happens when hands-on experiences are happening. That moment when you see the lights go on and the questions pour out is the moment when I feel "yes, that's why I am doing this". It involves some risk taking (after all, taking 30+ students out of the comfort zone of the classroom is a leap of faith), and some planning, but the pay-off is huge.
Another area I like to experiment in is creating differentiated evaluations. While multiple choice certainly has its place in testing necessary critical detail, I am a huge fan of self-expression and critical thought. Most of my students are international students. Being a non-native English speaker myself, I understand the importance of tiny words and their capacity to change the meaning of an entire sentence. The success rate in short answer and essay answers is much higher than multiple choice questions, even though the latter is a student favourite. "The answer is there, I just have to find it" is the thought behind it, and it is hard to convince them that they fare better when they can let their thoughts flow. They are smart and creative individuals, but multiple choice is brutal - either you get a mark at a guessing' probability of 20% or you don't. No room for explanations, and no room to demonstrate that you knew the answer, had it not been for that one little verb or adjective that skewed the meaning of the question in a different direction.
What courses do I teach?
My colleague Dr. Snider keeps saying: "what course has Anke NOT taught yet?" :) Hey, there are a still a few left, but yes, I have got a good number under my belt by now. Here is a list of courses/topics that I have taught so far:
In the Tourism Diploma Program:
Marketing for Tourism
Customer Service & Selling
Careers and Certifications
In the Bachelor Degree Program:
Intro to Tourism
International and Canadian Tourism
Service Quality Management