Transformational Education > A new way of teaching
Audio Clip – Ken Andrews on Charles Gragg
And then Chuck Gragg was a famous and beloved teacher who used to mystify the people completely. He'd mystify me.
He'd do such things as—you're looking for anecdotes—he would do such things as assign—he taught the course that included the analysis of national income accounts, and the operation of the economy generally, he would assign 150 pages of data on national income accounting, for example, and then when he came to class, he wouldn't discuss it. And you now, after a while, people didn't read it, I guess, but they may have.
I remember one time when I went to class, he—I was interested myself in what the national accounts were all about—how you computed the gross national product and trade deficits and all that. And he came in and he put two plus signs on the board, which become known as the "double plus," and then he sat down. He looked something like an owl. He had had a stroke, and one side of his face was partially, was marked, was partially paralyzed, and so he had a kind of droop which made him look very wise, very owl-like.
And he would, what he did, the glass top of the table, he sat down, the glass top of the table, took out a silver dollar or a fifty-cent piece, probably a silver dollar, because it required this degree of resonance, and he spun it, and then waited until it—and this took forever, it just took forever to wind down—and by the time there was absolutely dead silence—180 people in the room, and he just sat there and sort of looked at it. And dead air like that becomes intolerable, after a while.
So finally somebody said, "Aren't you going to start, Chuck?" And I don't know what it is he said, but the conversation that ensued, which I guess somebody asked him what the "double plus" was. That's what he wanted, of course-someone to ask him what the double plus thing was about. And for a person who wrote an article entitled "The question that hasn't been asked can't be answered," and who advocated listening to the students, he talked for a long time. In fact, he talked for most of his class, and it was a discourse which was extremely difficult to follow, but had everybody on the edge of their seats.
The double plus had something to do with two plus two equals five, or something simple, but it had to do with the non-logical component in management decision-making, although he'd never put it this way, the importance of character and morality in decision-making. But what it was, his power eluded mine. I had a probably over-logical, analytical mind, although I think the most important components of management are the ones he was talking about.
But the, he told us stories that would have the class talking among themselves for days, as to what the meaning would be.