Showing posts from July, 2011

Common Sense

A student that I had in one of my classes last spring wrote me recently for a book suggestion. He said that he wanted to learn more about the nature of business success and wondered what books I might suggest for him to read over the summer. I gave him a few titles that I like and then finished off with one of my very favorite books from many decades ago: Up the Organization . I made the point to the student that I liked this last book especially because it made so much of business just seem like common sense. The book didn’t try to overwhelm me with weird ideas and theories or complex calculations and assumptions. It just said, in very simple terms, “if you treat people this way, you should get good results.” After I wrote the student, I started to wonder if I could use the same logic in my teaching. Is there a common sense approach to teaching? The education system in the U.S. gets criticized quite frequently and experts put forth a lot of new suggestions all the ti

And, Now, A Few Words from the Author

In case you are interested, I gave a presentation on teaching back in May at Lebow Businss School at Drexel University. The URL for that talk is below. I don’t know that I said anything in the speech that I have not said previously on this blog but I did put some of it together in a more organized way. The speech is about 75 minutes in length and I talk about why teaching is so important and how each of us can (and should) work to get better.


Garry Trudeau, who writes the comic strip “Doonesbury,” must have some interesting opinions about college education. In this blog, I have written previously about the picture of college education that he paints occasionally (see “Dealing With The Truth” posted on January 23, 2011). Well, once again, Trudeau has written a strip that I felt went right to the heart of some of the problems we face as educators. In his cartoon for Sunday, June 26, 2011, two students are sitting at what looks like a coffee shop. One student asks: “When is Guy Fawkes Day?” and the other looks at a computer screen and responds with the correct answer in 0.08 seconds. The next question is what is “the seventh most abundant element in the earth’s crust”? This time the correct answer is provided in 0.14 seconds. The final question is what are “the three main branches of moral philosophy”? Discovery of the correct answer takes a mere 0.09 seconds. The instant availability of an infinite amount of inf