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Teaching Philosophy

"I interpret my role as a teacher and advisor in a way that i want to share my experience and to transfer the implicit knowledge I gained in conducting research projects and thereby to spur their interest in research questions and research designs. This is why I emphasize reading and presenting journal articles in the lectures and reading groups. I believe that this helps students to critically assess scientific articles and to choose adequate literature for their theses and essays as well. As many findings from economics contain important contributions to public debates, it is very important to me to convey a habit of critical thinking, such that students are trained in questioning claims that others may take as “facts”. I usually confront students with research designs, questions about the quality of data and their respective analysis and interpretation as soon as possible.

My teaching aims at going beyond economic theories of rationality by considering people’s needs, intrinsic motivations and values and how these are and should be satisfied. Thus, our teaching can be both positive and normative. The selection of theories is problem-oriented rather than dogmatic and focuses as much on context conditions as on limited human capacity for decision making.

I see students as intrinsically motivated, well-educated and curious individuals with great potential. In order to strengthen these motivations I am hesitant to prescribe topics for essays or final theses. I also intend to focus more on participative and real world orientated teaching methods like simulation games or economic experiments. Experiencing the real world implications of processes can lead to a deeper understanding of economic models compared to only experiencing them algebraically."

- Björn Vollan