Kristin Makszin

July 30, 2014

"My goal as a teacher is to maximize engaged eye contact during class. I know that a session went well the majority of students were at least thoughtfully focused, but even better actively debating with me or with each other. When by the end of the session, I can hardly find a set of focused eyes, I know that I need to rethink my approach. Given that I have been teaching a mandatory course that a majority of the students dread (statistics), it was a significant challenge to find an approach that encouraged student engagement. However, I have observed students’ resistance to the course fade during the semester and the process of teaching this course has truly improved my pedagogical skills and provided valuable lessons that extend beyond this single context.

Even teaching statistics, I ensure that each session includes some group work or interactive element. When teaching other subjects, I rely even less on lectures and incorporate more discussions and workshops into the sessions. To encourage discussion, I usually get students speaking as soon as possible, which means having a discussion-based activity in the first session of the course and near the beginning of each session. In my experience, this has highly positive effects on student engagement.

Reflecting the diversity of disciplinary and methodological approaches at the CEU International Relations department where I currently teach, I have experience teaching topics from regressional analysis to interpretivist case studies and everything in between. This means that I am quite versatile as a teacher and have learned a lot from my colleagues at the department.

While I genuinely enjoy teaching research design and teaching statistics to people who don’t want to learn it has become a passion of mine, I am interested to expand my teaching profile and gain more experience in comparative politics courses."