Teaching

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TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Translate Policy Analysis to Your Audience (undergraduate), Instructor on Record

Spring 2019

Math Refresher for Master in Public Policy (graduate), Instructor on Record

Fall 2017

Microeconomics and Public Policy Making (graduate), Teaching Assistant

Fall 2015

Tutoring Microeconomics (graduate)

2015, 2017

Certificate in College Teaching

Expected 2019

Certificate in Writing Pedagogy

Expected 2019

In 2015 I was a Teaching Assistant for Microeconomics and Public Policy Making, a core class of the Master in Public Policy (MPP) program at Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. The weekly section highlighted for me the importance, and the challenges, of closely communicating with students about the expectations set and how to meet them. I also provided one-on-one tutoring to students that were falling behind in the same class in 2015 and 2017. This was quite helpful as when teaching to the group it is harder to hear from those who are feeling lost.

In the summer of 2017 I was the primary instructor of the Math Refresher for first-year students in the MPP program. I collaborated with previous instructors, professors and staff to make sure the class was consistent with the wider MPP curriculum so as to equip students with the tools to tackle their core classes. I designed the class and prepared a detailed handout and extra practice problems.

The Bass Instructional Fellowship will fund me to teach a new course in the spring semester of 2019: Translating Policy Analysis for Your Audience. Designing this syllabus drew on skills acquired thanks to the Certificate in College Teaching and the Certificate in Writing Pedagogy (both expected in spring 2019), as the implementation of the class certainly will as well. This was my first exposure to the untaught practicalities of teaching: approvals from the department and university; coordination over the class schedule and making the material available to the students; collaboration with faculty to make sure the course complements existing offerings.

Going Forward

I am prepared to teach courses on policies for development, environmental sustainability or Global Value Chains analysis, as well as theoretical classes such as microeconomics, game theory, or international trade for public policy. Furthermore, the syllabus Translating Policy Analysis for Your Audience can be an addition to your undergraduate and graduate course offerings. Thanks to the Certificate in Writing Pedagogy, I am prepared to teach graduate courses on scholarly writing.

Teaching Philosophy

At first my students tend to be uneasy when, provided with a question, I would often reply with another question. The process aims at developing a clear economic narrative than they can apply to other questions. It creates less reliance on the instructor and encourages student collaboration, while practicing their communication skills.

I especially stress the importance of the dialogue between assumptions and results: acknowledging that research outcomes are most often conditional statements and not absolutes. In my experience, this dialogue was crucial for students to apply class material to their subsequent professional endeavors. The inclusion of different media such as newspaper articles, TedTalk videos, or even literature is conducive to it, but also allows to accommodate different learning styles.

Teaching Evaluations

Certificate in College Teaching’s observations of my sessions to MPP students describe me as a patient, approachable and respectable authority figure to students: “Whereas, your body language and tone of voice projected warmth and openness, you also established yourself as an expert on the subject via your thorough answers to questions” writes an observer. I make sure students are comfortable acknowledging their misunderstandings. According to a second observer: “[Maria is] patient with a student who is having difficulties understanding; attempts to elucidate the problem by explaining it in different ways.” An anonymous student writes in the evaluation: “Maria was extremely patient and generous. She was able to explain concepts from the book so clearly, I wish she had written it. ”

I encourage students to articulate they thoughts clearly and without jargon (but if they decide to use it, making sure it is applied correctly). The class observer writes on this topic: “Encourages students to formulate their thoughts, continuing a line of inquiry that the student appears to be having difficulties articulating. ”

I outline a clear learning contract with the students. We set mutual expectations and an agenda that I clarify at the beginning of each class and pursue with an organized approach to the topics discussed: “[Maria] presents an organized programme.”