As Kermit sang so memorably on The Muppet Show ‘It’s not easy being green’.
At this time of year thousands of first year lecturers in business schools and universities will know how true that is.
For those not just fresh to lecturing but new to the academic environment as new entrants from business, the adjustment is doubly daunting.
What to say by way of encouragement and advice?
Lean on your experience
I’d say, in the midst of change trust in one’s own experience and knowledge. What do I know that my students need? For entrants from business, that surely means up to date and relevant experience of being tested in the workplace.
Getting the most out of the case method
I’d say that adopting cases is a very effective way of sharing that business experience, taking it confidently into the classroom while still feeling one’s way into the more unfamiliar expectations and demands of academic life.
Start by choosing a case that reflects and is close to your own experience, take it into your own classroom and you’ll be amazed at how confidently you can guide students on a journey through the case and make it live for them.
Selecting the right case
How? Well, choose a case with a good, well written and detailed teaching note and you’ll get a pocket guide to how to teach it, how it links to management theory, and insights into previous student behaviours in classrooms like yours. It won’t just put you one step or more ahead of your students; if you’re smart you’ll also let it guide your own development and reading as you explore the theory behind the story.
An experienced Sports and Health Sciences lecturer, the University of Exeter’s Gavin Buckingham blogs about his own experience from when he was an early career academic, and has recently written an insightful piece for THE on tips for new lecturers.
Good luck, and remember you are the fresh perspective needed for student experience to remain relevant.
You can search over 60,000 cases on all areas of management and business at www.thecasecentre.org