On the Campus
This month, instead of A Letter from the
Executive Director and from the Editor, we have
decided to provide you with an update from the
MTA Educational Foundation.
9 Days in Taipei – a Very
Different Teaching Experience
Baruch College has a very successful International Executive MBA program with operations in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Israel, and France. Over the years the program has enriched the lives of the students whose careers have benefited by the knowledge from the course work, the prestige of a U.S. degree, and the networking amongst other alumni. After being on an informal waiting list for a number of yeas, I was invited to teach Technical Analysis in Taiwan during the recent April holiday break here in the U.S.
Courses run consecutively and Technical Analysis is an elective at Baruch, so I had to wait until a class of finance students completed all their core curriculum before I got this opportunity. I accepted the assignment, arranged vacation time at the office and quickly booked an 18 hour flight that would take me over the North Pole to Hong Kong and then Taipei.
Other faculty members at Baruch that I have met who have taught overseas found the experience of teaching in another culture very stimulating and rewarding – I was no exception. I got some counsel about teaching in Asia – for example – giving an individual project instead of a test where unfamiliar business terms may be a problem.
When giving an individual project it must be stressed that it is individual work and not a group project. Also the culture overseas does not put as much importance on copyrighted work and students often cut and paste without regard to sourcing.
Getting there — one long flight! Be open to words of experience from people who have endured long flights. Wear compression socks, walk, exercise, drink lots of water, repeat every two hours. Also it helps if you have good neighbors.
Check in – Friday night? Where did Friday morning go? Travel from the airport to the hotel was light because it was a local holiday. On Monday I got to see the real level of travel on the streets – buses, taxis, cars, and millions and millions of motor scooters. Naturally when I got to my room I called home and these were expensive minutes.
On Saturday after teaching I went to a Seven-Eleven to buy a phone card. I called every day for the next week for less than that first call from the hotel!
After booking the flight I had much to do – picking out a text that could be sourced overseas and reworking the course outline to fit into four full days and two evenings versus 14 weeks.
Getting the text I wanted proved to be a minor obstacle. This semester in New York I was using Kirkpatrick and Dalhquist as well as my own book. At first they could get Kirkpatrick and Kamich but later I was told they could only get Murphy before the class started and my own book would be bought on the internet and might or might not get there when classes started. At nearly the same time I had to get some extra shots from my doctor, check on the electrical outlets, contact information, getting Blackboard (the school’s uber-website for teaching) set up, what to bring and what to ship over before hand. Material that I would have a guest lecturer cover I now had to become familiar with and I had to arrange the material to flow from day to day.
There was no time for homework and a midterm so as a practical issue I wondered how I was going to judge if the material was being understood.
At Baruch I have a fair idea of the English skills of the students but what was I going to encounter in Taipei?
Teaching from 9 to 5.30PM — first you have to remember to give breaks every 90 minutes, no matter how exciting the material, 10 to 15 minutes plus an hour and 15 minutes for lunch. You always needed to review what was covered the prior day. The material builds on the early basic ideas and this must be reinforced. You had to put it on the board, tell it, explain it and then review it.
This was not because the students were slow but because the subject material was new and the language differences. I found several times that if one student did not understand the material another student might tell the others or the one who was confused in Chinese. This was a little distracting and would not have tolerated it in New York but I learned to accept it in Taiwan to be successful in getting the ideas across.
Bruce M. Kamich, CMT
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