Eshan Arya has been awarded the LTSU Teaching Award 2018. Eshan came to Australia from India and started at La Trobe College (previously La Trobe Melbourne). He continued studying at La Trobe University and completed a Bachelor in Economics and a Master in International Relations with Honours. He currently is close to completing his PhD at LTU. Business Newsroom sat down with Eshan to ask him about his LTU journey, his teaching career at LBS, and of course the LTSU Teaching Award.
Congratulations with the LTSU Teaching Award 2018! Can you tell us a little bit more about the award?
The LTSU (La Trobe University Student Union) Teaching Award aims to recognise an academic who has shown exceptional dedication to the student learning experience. Nominations are judged by a selection panel and then, if enough nominations are received, the top five nominees put to an online poll for students to vote. The nominee with the most votes is assessed as the winner.
What is it about your teaching that students love?
I think my students nominated me because I always strive to understand their perspective and do not generalise the overall student community. While I adhere to the rules and regulations, I truly try to understand what each individual is going through in their lives and why their actions are focussed in certain directions.
I am known as a tough marker and have never shown any favouritism and yet my students have been nominating me for three years in a row – this could be for a variety of reasons. I believe apart from innovative teaching, bringing in industry examples, simplifying concepts, getting perks to the classroom and having deep knowledge in the subject, there are other traits that students’ value more which I strive to develop in myself. These traits refer to maintaining a bias free environment in the classroom which is non-judgemental and respectful towards differing opinions. Maintaining a bully free classroom, encouraging students to embrace multiculturalism and to learn from diversity around them.
Apart from business studies and concepts I groom my students to think outside of the box, to respect diverse lifestyle choices of their peers and not to engage in any form of sexism or discriminatory ideas or behaviour. I also challenge my students to push their own boundaries rather than comparing them with their peers. I also go out of the way to answer their doubts and provide them a constructive feedback. I believe the key in my teaching is having a genuine respect for all individuals and their lives and not treating them as a commodity.
Tell us a bit about your longstanding LTU journey
I started my journey in Australia as a student with La Trobe College (LTC). I did a pathway diploma program as my previous degrees were in Physics/Science from India, and I was shifting to business studies. At LTC I met very skilled and student centric teachers. Their approachable nature, knowledge in the subject area along with an engaging teaching style not only harboured my keenness in business studies, but also laid the foundations of my own teaching style later.
Upon finishing the program, I completed my Bachelor in Economics and Master in International Relations with Honours at LTU. As a student at LTU, I was particularly impressed with the teaching style of Dr. Jan Libich, Dr. David Walker, Dr. Daniel Bray, Dr. Rosemarie Edillon and Dr. Tim Thornton who showed exceptional innovative teaching styles that inspired me. I find the teaching style of my colleague Pablo Ahumada very inspirational too.
I started teaching economics in 2011/12. My lecturers remembered me as a star student: I was best in class, won three Dean’s commendation awards and three La Trobe Gold awards. This definitely worked in my favour when I was looking for teaching opportunities.
Dr. David Walker, Dr. Bret Slade and Dr. Rosemarie Edillon were my first employers. I’m very grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to teach. They believed in me, even though I had no prior teaching experience. I have taught various subjects: States Security & International Relations, Modern World Economy, Business in a Globalised World, Interpersonal skills & conflict management, Foundations of Management, Business Foundations, Big Ideas in Business and Organisational Change & Development. Currently I am teaching various bachelor and master subjects.
You have definitely built a great teaching portfolio at LBS. Besides your PhD and teaching, do you have time for other things?
Besides teaching at LTU, I teach Maths and English to High school students of refugee backgrounds for multiple city councils as a volunteer. I also teach Karate. As a 6th Dan Black Belt I teach Karate and Kickboxing to youth at risk under a special youth engagement program of my local city council.