Transformational Education > A new way of teaching
Willis Emmons on the teaching groups
[T]eaching groups at HBS have a really daunting responsibility. The amount of content that is covered in our courses in the first year is quite striking. And if you think about the mathematics, most teaching groups will spend about an hour on each case that is taught in the classroom. And so the time that it takes to actually think through the critical content issues themselves could take many hours. But at the same time the question of: how are we going to actually teach this class in the case method classroom? What are the major teaching challenges? What are the questions that are going to lead to the most discovery on the part of students, or intuition-building? What are the tradeoffs we face in 80 minutes, in the ability to actually cover and uncover the material that we have set out for the day?
So it's really impossible, in a single hour, for a teaching group to meet the needs of every member of that teaching group, regardless of how many times you've taught, or not taught the material before. Having said that, the teaching group at HBS is, in many ways, unique. I'm not aware of many other institutions that have the teaching group, and in most other places, even if faculty are teaching the same course, they're often teaching it on their own. They may be teaching it with different materials, the sequencing may be different. And the student experience may vary considerably more across those classes. And HBS has always been committed, I think, to having a much greater sense of sort of consistency across the learning experience for students, and actually leveraging the teaching group as a way of sharing knowledge across generations of faculty, of sharing best practices in the teaching group, and really creating a forum both for new faculty and more experienced faculty to share ideas, and continue to learn themselves before they go into the classroom.