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DCE Magazine

Instructor Q&A: Brad Holt

Accelerated Certificate Program (ACP) Instructor

Spring 2019

Q. Why do you like teaching international students?

A. I learn so much from them and these are the best of the best. They are studying at a postgraduate level in a foreign language in a foreign country. Although I moved to China in 1993 and studied Chinese language at the Beijing Language and Culture University, I learned that meeting people from other countries was where the real learning begins. Teaching international students is as much about sharing ideas with them as learning from them. I get to learn about business nuances in different cultures. Hopefully, they can learn from my 30 years of “life experiences,” including the good and the bad!

Q. What special qualities or qualifications do you bring to the classroom?

A. I have traveled all over the world and lived overseas for almost a decade, so I have been in their shoes. I work hard at making the learning experience practical and fun. I am honest with them. More than half of my closest friends live overseas, and honesty is critical. So it's important to me to find ways to push my students outside of their comfort zone. Although I am an instructor, I am also a businessman. I treat our students like my clients. They need to get what they paid for—a real education tailored just to them! I believe this is where they will learn about themselves and gain skills to be effective in the international business world. I don't tell them what they want to hear. I try to be real and tell them what they need to hear.

Q. What do you do to engage with your students and support success in the classroom?

A. I have to admit that I am known for giving out candy when they participate. I think participation is such an important part of their education. Although I am always learning from them, their participation is not for me, but for each other. They can learn so much from their classmates. We all have our assumptions about one another and how the world works. I try to get them to share ideas with each other to break down these stereotypes and to give them a real competitive edge.

Q. Can you tell us about a memorable moment you've had while teaching international students?

A. When you get open and honest communication in class, you can see incredible growth. The students in the program are quite remarkable but sometimes forget to “truly listen” to others. During a group project, a team captain stated the team had consensus on all their answers. Based on my international experience, I knew some team members were probably holding back their “true feelings.” So I challenged the captain to dig deeper. To his credit, he really tried to understand his teammates’ answers and discovered countless new opinions and challenging assumptions that he never considered. He came back and told me they talked for hours that evening and he felt it was the most valuable educational experience in his program. How many other times had he missed this valuable information during discussions? That is real education and real personal growth.