When you invite a behavioural psychologist into the classroom a little disruption should be expected…
You are a part-time coach for one of the top luxury watch brands in the world. What lessons do you take from this role and bring into your classroom?
I coach people to find their own solutions by considering organizations and groups from a systemic perspective. This means that each time we take decisions we need to consider that they alter and change many aspects of an organization including structures, policies, procedures, technologies, role design and cultural patterns. From large companies to the classroom, the dynamics such as globalization, environment, digitalization and demographics will always have an influence.
What subjects do you teach at IHTTI and what is your approach to teaching?
One of my main focuses is self-development and leadership. In my approach I always put the human being at the centre of my theories.
“Education is an opportunity for not only transferring knowledge but transforming it! In the classroom I am a moderator for my students with them acting as the main actors that shape the lesson through active interaction.”
For me, the classroom is not simply a place for learning but a place to have dynamic experiences. My students are taught to not simply consider behaviours but are invited to go more in-depth to understand what is beneath the behaviour.
Your teaching approach is unlike anything most students have experienced. How do you gain your students’ trust in order for them to accept and embrace your approaches?
Creating an emotional contact with students before deciding what we are going to do together is the foundation for a successful contract for engagement and commitment. Contact before contract means being accessible to them with our vulnerabilities (teachers are human beings too). This openness creates trust since it has a ripple effect. If I show that despite my experience I’m still in the learning process, students are more prone to disclose their concerns.
How does the presence of so many different cultures at IHTTI affect your teaching method? Can you give an example?
I try to be curious and study about cultural differences by using as a frame of reference Hofstede Studies on Cultural Dimensions. For instance, if I work on emotions and the exercise entails the disclosure of some part of our personality I am aware that this can be challenging for some introverted cultures. For them, I give them freedom to choose if they want to participate or rather be a spectator for the exercise. I tell them that is ok to take their time for thinking and that it is ok to decide to not disclose part of ourselves that we consider too personal. But I suggest for them to reflect and write about what happened in the classroom when we experience emotional intelligence.
What has been your proudest moment as a teacher?
When a student after a lecture on emotional intelligence told me that she understood many things about herself and that she didn’t need me any longer as a mentor.
“Education is about creating autonomy and teaching the critical thinking and social emotional skills that can help students become independent learners for life.”