Dr. Elbarrad’s main goal is to transfer knowledge to his student in the most easy and interesting way. To achieve that, he linked his research and professional experience to his teaching and he keeps himself updated with the most recent updates in his field. He spends a lot of time trying to simplify ideas and concepts to make it easy for students to understand the accounting topics. He usually prepares himself to illustrate each topic by different methods to fulfill individual students’ needs. He cares a lot about students understanding, learning and critical thinking. He believes that as a faculty member, he should be fully devoted to his students in class and give more time and effort for those students who needs more attention outside the classroom. He believes that the success of students is a success of the faculty member.
The following principles guide his teaching activities:
- Motivating students to learn.
Usually accounting is not the favorite subject for some students. He focus at the beginning of the course on students who declares that they hate numbers or accounting. He tries all semester long to use examples which are strange to the students that they keep remembering it even after graduation. In addition, he encourages his students to be engaged in the topic he is illustrating. When he asks a question, he keeps hearing different answers, without saying if it is right or wrong, and sometimes he asks the students to discuss their answers before giving them the correct answer. Such environment fuels the learning in class.
- Creating a safe learning environment:
He makes sure at his first classes to focus on the importance of participation. He encourages students to participate and provides a real safe environment to them in case they answered wrong or asked questions that seem obvious to their colleagues. If a student answer is wrong, he thanks him/her for participating and he walks him/her towards the correct answer in a step-by-step approach. After a couple of classes, the students gain confidence and they ask questions and participate in answering questions without the fear that they are going to be embarrassed in front of their colleagues. This helps a lot in their learning process.
- Being close to my students:
He believes that if a faculty is close to students, students would be willing to share their learning problems or even their fear of the subject as a whole with him. Opening one to one discussions with the student will make the student more comfortable and willing to express his/her ideas and problems. This has been a successful way, that some students visit his office after the course ends or even after graduation and consult him in their future career.
- Teaching students how to think.
At the beginning of the course, he focus on the importance of understanding and thinking in order to pass the course. He emphasizes in his teaching on the concepts, then how to apply it in different situations to give some room for the students’ creativity and logical thinking. He trains them first in class by some verbal questions, then he includes some questions in the exam, which needs creativity and thinking. He does not try to give them the answer directly; rather guide them to reach the answers themselves.
- Simplicity in delivering the subject.
He has learned from his experience that making it simple will make it easier, but making it simple is a difficult task. In delivering the accounting topics to his students, he used to work hard in preparing his courses trying to choose extremely simple examples outlining the basic concept of the topic that he is illustrating. Such examples should be close to the students’ everyday life. This approach has been a success in making students who declared several times to him that they hate accounting and numbers at the beginning of the course to end the course with an “A+” and even declare that this was one of their most fascinating courses.
- Improving his teaching.
He believes that to be one of the best is difficult and needs effort, but to retain such position is more difficult and needs more effort. Accordingly, he has to prepare his self before any course that he teaches even though he could had taught it several times before. He concentrates on criticism in his students’ evaluations (rather than praise) and try to overcome it in his next courses.
- Reflection from students’ evaluation.
Referring to the comments of the students’ evaluation, He is pleased to find that his teaching philosophy is succeeding in bringing students’ to learn and think. This is clear in several of their comments. He has also started taking regular feedback from students to be able to adapt quickly to their needs.