Thinking starts when we face a problem and ends when we have a solution for the problem. They say that thinking is the highest human mental activity which is also the reason behind all human accomplishments and progress. This is because thought precedes action. Anything before being actually done, is first imagined in the human mind. Thus, action and thought are inseparable. As Einstein very emphatically puts it,
The whole of Science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.
Immense research has been done in this field. If you just google “types of thought” or “types of thinking”, millions of links will be displayed. The point I am trying to make here is that something as important as thinking, has just lost its significance in the present education system. So, it is only a myth that the more educated you are, the better your thinking abilities. Another statement I have often heard is that thinking abilities are inherent and one cannot develop thinking skills if he/she is not born with them. How UNTRUE!
Thus, the overarching purpose of my teaching is to improve upon my students’ knowledge base and facilitate learning through creative, critical, and reflective thinking. I believe that teaching is a life-long learning process. When we teach, we learn at the same time. I think that a good teacher not only keeps the ‘fire of learning more’ burning inside her but also inspires her students to adopt that view towards learning. If one aspires to teach, one should never discontinue learning.
Also, one can teach students a few lessons everyday; but if one can teach them to learn by creating curiosity, they will continue learning all their lives by being motivated self-learners. This is a very important quality in this competitive world. All through their professional life, students will be successful only if they keep themselves updated to the new information churned out in their respective fields every day.
I believe that asking questions and finding answers to those questions advances our knowledge base. Applying that knowledge base makes us wise. Enthusiasm and motivation can work wonders if fuelled by inspiration and creativity. Thus, the hallmark of a great teacher is to inspire her students and to ignite the spark of creative thinking in the minds of her students. For example, in the context of marketing education, the important goals of a great teacher are to: a.) Cultivate the curiosity in marketing thinking and b.) Develop (cultivate, promote and nurture) a “habit of curiosity” about marketing in everyday practice. (Hill & McGinnis, 2007, p.55).
Furthermore, I believe that only classroom theory is not as useful as when it is combined with practical application or real-world examples. Especially in the field of marketing education, it is just not possible for students to identify with the definitions of terms, concepts, frameworks or theories unless they have had some work-experience in the marketing function or unless some relevant real-world examples or case studies are discussed with them in class. These examples and cases will not only enhance their learning experience but also ignite the spark of curiosity and give them a platform to present their creative thinking, critical thinking and understanding of the material taught. Also important is to generate a process of reflective thinking among students which involves evaluative thinking of what has already occurred. This is important because it will enable them to ponder over what is done, analyze it, and learn out of the successful and unsuccessful actions they undertook.
In today’s dynamic business environment, marketing professionals are expected to be proficient in all 3 types of questioning, or forms of thinking. They need to be able to produce innovative ideas (creative thinking), evaluate them in terms of organizational objectives (critical thinking), and then evaluate the outcomes of their efforts to become more effective in future (reflective thinking). So, I think that as a marketing teacher it is my duty to create a classroom environment (stimulating yet non-competitive and non-intimidating) that is conducive to spark off a culture of inquisitiveness among students. This is important because as a teacher I cannot force or trick my students into learning because learning is an active participatory process; it cannot be one-sided. Thus, my teaching strategy would be to shift the educational focus from being only marketing content-driven to augmenting students’ thinking ability so that they can adapt their marketing knowledge to the unpredictable and dynamic world of business.
Along with this, I also have a positive confidence that all students, when given the right tools and guidance, can improve their learning and application of knowledge. Moreover, I have my principles that will guide me towards being a good teacher – organization, thorough knowledge about the area of instruction, openness, sincerity, adaptability to diversity, student-friendliness, empathy, respect, infotainment (information through entertainment), and flexibility. I aspire to imbibe all these in my teaching style and endeavor to arouse a love for learning in my students. ‘Thinking and learning’ should become a fun activity for my students.
Finally, I believe that…
A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils. ~Ever Garrison
Reference: Hill, M.E. & McGinnis, J. (2007), “The Curiosity in Marketing Thinking,” Journal of Marketing Education, 29, 52-62.