Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Things I Learned from Teaching in China, Part 4

[This post is the fourth of a five-part series on what I have learned from teaching in China.]

Many students in my classes at the Beijing International MBA program made individual coaching appointments with me to improve their writing or presentation skills. On one occasion, four students met with me as a group to sharpen up for their second team presentation. Since three sat around as one received the coaching, I decided to put them to work. "Amanda, you critique Mike's body language. Lilian, you cover his voice. Zach, you have his PowerPoint slides."

The results were excellent. The students noted details that I overlooked, and each comment they made was right on target. In this way, we continued until all four received feedback while I concluding with summary remarks. And this team delivered the best presentation of 17 groups.

Weiming Lake on the campus of Peking University
A big part of my classroom teaching focused on relying on teammates to receive unrelenting criticism, so this approach was nothing new; however, being present while students criticized each other gave more legitimacy and greater credence to their commentaries. I have decided to make coaching sessions like these routine for future classes.