Friday, 23 September 2016

From marketing boredom to a marketing academic

How the IDS Learning Events’ training transformed teaching for me.

Picture credit: Geralt/Pixabay. CC0 Public Domain.


Teaching was something that I got into accidentally. For very many years my major career goal was to be a high flying, marketing executive in a large multinational firm. I loved marketing, still do. In my opinion, it is the perfect blend of psychology and business strategy, two subject areas that I find fascinating.

The marketing executive

However, three months into my first employment (which was in a marketing firm) I realized that boredom had become my constant companion. Yes, I was pursuing my passion. And yes, every day was different from the next because of the different clients and projects we were handling. But I was quite simply bored. It took me awhile to place my finger on the reason for my boredom, but I eventually did. I was bored out of my mind because I was barely learning anything new at my place of employment.

The moment I came to that realization, I started actively looking for a masters’ degree programme and, approximately six months later, I got the opportunity to join one of the best Business Masters’ programmes in Africa with the opportunity to offer tutorials, and two years later, to lecture in a university. It has been four years of teaching, so far, and I have loved every single minute of it.

Teaching is the boiling down of hard concepts to small simple morsels of information that can easily be understood. This process provides a unique opportunity of perpetual learning, that I especially enjoy.

The IDS Learning Event

One of the things, however, that has become very apparent is that teaching is a science that also needs to be taught. I have a very robust academic background in Marketing and Business Science, but I am mostly self-taught in the art and science of teaching. So when the opportunity to attend the IDS Learning Event on teaching and assessment practices was presented, I latched on with both hands and I was not disappointed.

I learnt quite a lot on the various pedagogies that can be used to teach. The training also touched on how we can work Information Technology into learning and assessment to make it more interactive.

At the end of the training, two things became very clear to me. One, I needed to apply the pedagogies I had learnt as soon as possible. And two, there was still so much to learn concerning the science and art of teaching.

The step forward

Approximately three weeks after the training, I started teaching a new cohort of students.  I made a point of attempting to try out the new pedagogies of learning that I had learnt in the training. I also made a point of incorporating Information Technology (through our institutions e-learning) in learning and assessment. One of the continuous assessments that was given to this group of students was uploaded on a platform I created on e-learning. The students were then instructed to engage each other on this platform as they interrogated the work that each student uploaded and to provide constructive criticism. The exercise is still ongoing but is proving to be quite successful so far.
The classroom has become livelier with the use of the various pedagogies. Students are more participative and learning is spilling over and taking place even outside the classroom hours. All these changes were brought about by a two day training. I am excited, as I contemplate the magnitude of change that will take place once I become a highly trained educationist.

Lucy Nguti is a Doctoral Fellow at Strathmore School of Management and Commerce. She teaches marketing on the undergraduate program offered by university. 

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