Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Teaching: Specialise or teaching more than one subject?
I hope you are all doing well. I have a question to all of you. I love to teach and so far I have been teaching everything from international business, marketing, management to organisational psychology. I feel ambivalent towards this however.I love to teach and Im curious in my nature and what better way to learn new things than to teach? However I also feel that if I continue being a generalist It might also be bad since I risk loosing touch with my main specialisation.
I am sure you are an excellent teacher and from what you write you have a vocation for teaching and that is fundamental. However, think calmly and focus on the area in which you feel most confident. From there, you can relate your teaching to other areas to help your students. But, what you have to be careful of is wanting to know a little bit of everything because it will prevent you from going deeper into what you really like.
Techno-Logos (Educatis.CH: Sharing knowledge among professionals.
The best is to teach only that topics, which you can create from memory, i.e. extempore. Fact and ideas learning itself can be today fully programmed and automated; in this case, the teacher would be simply a course designer (developer). Concerning specializations, I would fully focus on one, with respect to research.
Pedagogics as profession will evolve gradually into learning science;
I don't think you can ever lose touch with your expertise (being a specialist myself) but as the old adage implies all eggs in one basket not so great. So in my opinion it's valuable as an educator to enter the unknown and explore in other areas. Agree with the Comenius statement Stephen I. Ternyik
Teaching require passion and enthusiasm, According to first law of learning of Throndike, which is law of readiness. Then you can teach variety of subjects based on prior planning and preparation. Get involved in learning new things and then you can teach it.
There are certain subjects that are going nowhere - the clever thing is to identify them and then run away, towards something useful. Life/experience teach us how to distinguish among those subjects - we just need to become less rigid and embrace what matters most.
You must be a genius to teach all those subjects. For you to be effective, I would advise you to keep to your lane. Just tackle those subjects you were trained in and the ones you have full mastery of the content. Let's you forget! you may be a "jack of all trades and a master of none".
Hello Mr. Arvidsson, If I may contribute with my two cents, there is nothing wrong to be a generalist if the environment that you are teaching accepts it. In cultures like Scandinavian and anglo-Saxons, generalists are accepted, especially when teaching about business. Other countries, with high uncertainty avoidance as Eastern Europeans, Latin Europeans, middle east, tend to prefer more academic/specialized expertise.
From my point of view, generalists with a good business background teach more rich insights than just a "one field" expert; but, it is better to have a blend of both. So, maybe I can suggest during your class to invite an expert on the field for a seminar/webinar to share a solid focus perspective, while you, as a generalist, teach your students how this focused point applies in real business life.
Your broad business point of view is a good thing for academia.
When teaching in a bachelor's program, the professor must be able to teach in several courses of science in the same field, but when it comes to teaching in a master's or doctoral program, we must only study what is within our specialization.
My expertise is in a rather generic field of "knowledge management (KM)". In teaching its core concepts, I can explore KM applications in various contexts. Thus, there is always an opportunity for my students to learn something extra from the areas of business, as well as history, literature, archaeology etc. Such approach makes the subject taught more interesting for everyone.
I find that it is good to have the ability to teach more than one subject, this gives you a wide experience and greater possibility, but at the same time you must constantly work to develop yourself in your field of specialization through research, books, etc., I myself do that.
I think it is very difficult to teach all subjects. Maybe you can coach more subjects as having expertise in one subject. I think teaching require passion and enthusiasm, too. You have to have your heart and soul for your subject in order to be able to convey it authentically with your heart.
You can attempt to teach those subjects which have some relation to each other. Like distribution,supply chain management , logistics, Sales and Operations Planning etc. Concentrate on subjects where you have industry experience to enrich your lectures with anecdotes and examples. Since, by default you keep updating the information of your industry , your journey will be fruitful and satisfactory.
Are you teaching somewhere that you'd like to stay? If so, what do they value and support? Treat your career development like a partnership. If not, what would provide you with the greatest mobility to your target university-type? Treat your career development about preparing for where you'd like to go.
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
@Valerie.. where I am now I would like to stay. Its only part time since Im a business owner first and formost. However I love to teach. As a part timer I do it as long as its fun. I dont have any aspirations, I have been a CEO, talk radio host and journalist for 20 years and teaching I have done for 10 or so in 4 diffetent countries but you are right. One should view it as a partnership and I think for something you do primarely for fun personal relations are crucial. However I can see my self teaching full time when my wife has taken over as CEO ( hopefully somewhete along the line) and I can focus on things I like to do instead of things I must do 😀.
Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson , greetings ! As you seem to enjoy teaching, thats something you may wish to continue as long as possible.
"Im curious in my nature and what better way to learn new things than to teach?" As you have said, it may be that talking / teaching about different things than about the same thing may offer the 'challenge' / motivation to push forward.
In my opinion, teaching in different fields develops people's perspectives. Also, due to the relationship between the concepts, it is possible to benefit from a specialized concept in another training course. In general, the training process should be two-way. Both student and faculty development.
It does not look promising if you can teach everything. Students will be quite critical to you if they will meet you on each and every subject. Most of all it is quite difficult to research in each field of your teaching. Specialization is the key. From the other hand, business disciplines are quite interrelated, so it is possible to teach and specialize in a wide field.
You can certainly teach a wide variety of subjects to a certain degree but you'll never attain significant mastery in any of them while you are a jack of all trades. My advice to upcoming academics is: Choose an area of specialization early in your career. That way, you will not only be able to obtain in-depth knowledge of the discipline, but also to contribute to its intellectual discourse at a high level. Above all, you will be able to teach your students with the confidence and authority that comes only from being an expert in your field.
Obviously, the best thing is to SPECIALIZE, FACING TEACHING AND EVERYTHING !; but, this IS NOT ATTACKED WITH MORE THAN ONE SUBJECT WITHIN THE SAME AREA OF SPECIALTY AND KNOWLEDGE ... without forgetting that, within the same Specialty, DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES IN UNDERGRADUATE, POSTGRADUATE, MASTERS AND DOCTORATES OR EVEN , THE SAME, BUT AT QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE LEVELS OF DEPTH AND INTENSITY; in fact, I have done it without problems!
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