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IF Discussions in an Albanian Marketing Class

Marsel Kalemi is a lecturer in International Business and Marketing at the Military University “Scanderbeg” in Tirana, Albania. He was also a participant in the 50-Hour Training Course in the IF Discussion Process that IF Fellows Mark Notturno and Ieva Notturno conducted in Washington DC last Spring for Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) scholars. After successfully completing the course, Marsel won a grant from IF to support his use of the IF Discussion Process to teach a course in his home country. The following is a report about the progress that his students are making in that course.

By Marsel Kalemi

I am a JFDP (Junior Faculty Development Program) alumnus from Albania and during the time that I was in DC, I participated in IF discussion trainings. This method was new for me, but it was very beneficial for my development as a young professor. We attended and participated in an IF ‘student-centered discussion’ training program, and in the end managed to produce a report about “Teaching Methods”.

As a post communist country, influenced by the eastern teaching methods, the education system in Albania is not familiar with these “dialogs” between professors and students. In Albania, the professors teach all the time, and the students keep notes, or most of the time fall asleep. For this reason, while participating in the IF project, I was recommended to implement the IF discussion in my classes, and I did.

For almost one semester, my students are acquiring marketing knowledge through IF discussions. As a professor, I am noticing a better preparation from my students, an increase in participation during the class—-as IF discussions and participation is crucial for their final grade—-and also, what is more important, development of their critical thinking. In every IF discussion, the students are contrasting conceptual policy possibilities regarding marketing. But to take part in these discussions, they have to be prepared, which means that they have to cover the material before coming to the class. This phenomenon never happened before, as they were used to study all the material just before the exam. We had midterms a few days ago, and I noticed a great improvement in the results. This happened because they didn’t have to cover the whole material a few days before the exam.

IF discussions are becoming a new teaching method in my classes and they are giving better results for my students. My colleagues are aware of this new method already, and I see an increasing of interest to implement IF discussions in their classes. I am translating the “Teaching Methods” report into Albanian, which will be distributed to my colleagues for a better understanding of IF.