Monday, June 9, 2014

Teaching at JAMK

During the 2014 Europe trip, I was fortunate enough to teach an international business speaking course at JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland.

JAMK's Creativity and Communication in Business program gathered students from Finland, Russia, Argentina, Singapore, Canada, and the U.S. Adapting to such a wide range of learning styles was a highlight of the professional experience.

Of course despite months of thinking and planning, I needed to develop new lectures and activities on a near-daily basis while in Finland. Our classroom conversations illuminated challenges and opportunities I'd never considered prior to my arrival. Every day was therefore a race to prepare, never quite knowing what would land. The work was exhilarating but also exhausting.

Before my morning class I'd spend a couple hours honing activities and revising my Prezi. I'd typically stay afterward to chat with students before grabbing a quick lunch break. The afternoon section gave me a chance to revise my lessons while working with a different group of students. Again, I'd stay awhile to chat before returning to my apartment. Evenings were mostly dedicated to grading, sometimes while enjoying a meal at Hotelli Yöpuu.

The three-week JAMK program included classes, evening activities, and optional side-trips to Estonia, Sweden, and Russia. As a result, the students formed a close community whose friendships are likely to endure. Indeed, in a world of more than seven billion people, I won't be surprised if I see some of these folks again one day.

Thanks to Phillip Szeto for taking these pix!

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