Wednesday, December 07, 2011




This statement of teaching philosophy is written to meet general application requirements. The discipline of international business excites me because world trade has expanded more than twenty-five fold since 1950. I believe it is a flexible area of teaching and research due to the nature of its growth and rewards my approaches to applying it in the field of education. My teaching path is permitted due to its growth.

My motivational strategy is assisted by the needs of my students. For example, Korea’s economic growth relies on an export market economy where business English skills are vital and essential to acquiring new markets and trade representatives abroad. So while I encourage students’ innate curiosity and desire to seek out international opportunities, I do not need to “sell them” on its relevancy. One of my inspirational teachers said that a man should carry his business in his briefcase. This impacts my teaching and learning role in international business and willingness to work almost anywhere. So my teaching and lessons are a form of customer designed service.

My lesson planning skills have become more refined over fifteen years and following graduate studies in international business, two key strengths have emerged. First, my experience of teaching English as a second language has been an advantage in international business teaching as a large proportion of students and researchers are English as second language learners. Second, my desire to improve my teaching skills has positively influenced my record of achievement in acquiring further postgraduate certificate education.

In my classroom, the basis of my lessons rely on students’ textbook knowledge preparation with extensive pair work and group work with teacher and student led discussions, short presentations, and brief introductions to general topics, shallow and wide in focus and scope. Over a regular semester syllabus as many as twelve core topics are covered at an introductory undergraduate level. These topics are halved in sophomore and junior level classes all designed with respect for departmental request that students be given an opportunity to speak about and gain confidence in the topic of international business. As a result, while I seek to minimize my focal role, I do give students clear direction in their tasks and classroom activities when they play listening roles. However their core group discussions and classroom discoveries are facilitator led and directed by me. Due to social upbringing, Korean and Chinese students are often challenged by cooperative small group activities and I believe this helps prepare them for the realities of the international business working world.

My learning outcomes are measured in a few simple ways. First, I design and deliver online based homework which reviews the classroom based lesson topics. Then, I give a written midterm and final exam based upon the homework. Midterm exams are reviewed in terms of areas requiring future improvement. Finally, speaking presentations are evaluated to measure students’ depth of interest in self-selected topics as well as public speaking skills with full rubrics.

While rare, I enjoy teaching smaller groups of students because I have more chances to focus on each individual learner that way. I have learned that I am a flexible teacher with good common sense approaches to student and classroom management. I have acquired this self-knowledge through time, trial and error. I encourage students to visit my office for regular visiting hours or appointment or to connect by telephone, by email or through online wiki services. I evaluate my teaching effectiveness by monitoring students’ level of participation in class as well as through general required student evaluations, suggestions, consultation and comments of my working peers.

I have learned that teaching is an evolving skill which requires consistent renewal and good humor. While further education is always helpful, witnessing my students’ successes is also affirming. For example, following one of my lessons about online sales and marketing a Chinese student set up a website selling Skype card accounts. He has since returned to China and joined the Skype China Head Office. Another graduate joined The Import Export Bank of Korea; still another started an auto export business to South East Asia. A recent graduate told me she will soon be locating to China as a regional manager of a global restaurant chain where she started ladling soup in the kitchen as a freshman. Another fellow has been posted to Chennai, India to head up an offshore trade office while yet another handles apparel orders for JC Penny. There is even one enterprising character that spent a year managing a large team on a corporate service account at a five star hotel in Florida on a study break.

While I cannot profess to a record of published research I am not incorrigible in this regard. I work and teach in isolation from my own culture and take my holidays on frequent trips around Asia and the Middle East and I value my free time. Following the high altitude of graduate studies rather than continue to a PhD program, I chose to learn the nuts and bolts of international trade and have not been idle in this regard. It is a form of practical hands on research that I have conducted. Even while a humanities undergrad my weekends and evenings were on call at a local lobster pound scaling, packing, loading, shipping and receiving live seafood for air cargo exports.

The best learning experience I have had so far is my current teaching position rewarded due to diligence and patience in my job search. Here I was kindly managed and allowed to freely grow my knowledge base and my ability to design stimulating courses for my students. But it was never my intention to live in Korea forever. So as the time comes to leave, I am confident, I will attain my next successful teaching post through further diligence and patience and be one step closer to greater mastery of my craft as I am not finished yet. ”For our pupil, a little room, a garden, table and bed, solitude, company, morning and evening; all hours shall be alike to him, and all places will be his study.” Michel de Montaigne

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