My teaching philosophy can be summarized by the following principles:
- Students won’t care to learn until we learn to care.
Teachers should make an effort to connect with students on a real, human, personal level. In my courses, for instance, I try to know students better (previous experience, background, interests, etc.) and design my lectures exploiting their differencies. I also organize events and academic activities to give them the possibility to be more involved in the research activity and be in contact with experienced scholars.
- It takes a whole village to raise a child.
Students will learn if the entire environment is organized to help them to learn. My role as a teacher is to set the stage for discussion and interactive learning in class. I spend countless hours to prepare the class, the material and the activities for my students. In my course I invite practitioners and formers students to present their work. Outside the class I organize a weekly lab meetings where student can present their ideas and be part of scientific research in Behavioral Economics.
- It is not all about us.
Teachers often focus on what they say and what they do. Instead I try to focus on what students say and do in class. I believe that learning is an active process and students are the main characters. For instance in my course I organize a “challenge”, where students can compete proposing their original ideas to answer the proposed research question.
- Education isn’t just one way.
When I go to class, I am always curious to discover what I will learn. Students are an inspiration for me and over the years they taught me several important things and made me a better human being. For instance, I encourage my students to write short research proposal that I evaluate and financed with my research funds. Some of these research projects are now academic papers and my students had the possibility to publish their work in prestigious international journals.
I think my enthusiasm and passion for Economics are reflected in my teaching and I hope are passed on to my students. In the classroom, I concentrate on teaching students to think independently and express their own opinions. Through this method, I believe students acquire important life-long skills, such as critical thinking and creative problem-solving, which can be applied to their daily life.
I use several complementary strategies to explain concepts and engage students in active learning:
- Critical thinking: I pose qualitative questions during the lecture and I encourage students to propose their answer without any fear. I think that asking questions is the best tool to collect opinions in class and lead to active discussions.
- Visual explanation: I like to prepare beautiful slides with pictures, videos and quiz questions to catch students attention and make concepts easier to remember.
- Applied experiments: Using my expertise in experimental economics, I engage students through use of classroom experiments to illustrate concepts. I think this is a valuable and unique tool for my students to learn both basic and complex concepts.
- Link to practice: It is important to help students link their economic knowledge to the events that appear in the news and that affect them. For this reason I bring current news stories into the classroom and challenge them to give me an economic explanation of these phenomena.
- Link to research: It is important that students understand that science is not a static set of knowledge but a dynamic process. For this reason, I incorporate the most recent scientific results into my lectures, including my own work.
I believe in Active Learning. I expect students to do most of your learning through the readings and assignments, both on their own and in cooperation with their classmates. I do not cover all the topics in lecture. Rather, my job is to guide the learning by choosing readings and exercises and to coach students through the learning process in a way that maximizes understanding. Students’ participation and active discussion in class is essential for an effective peer learning in my courses. For this reason, students have to read all the assigned papers before each lecture and do homework and group activities in preparation of (and during) each lecture.
For results on “actual learning” versus “feeling of learning” in response to being actively engaged in the classroom, see this recent PNAS paper.
Finally some videos that inspired me as a teacher:
And some books that guided me: