What knowledge is useful?
Fouraker on the “intersection” of teaching, research and practice
The ability to choose your problem—you go into the field and you define a problem or you pick an issue that you think is important, confront it, and you try to analyze it with your colleagues here during a teaching group. You work out a teaching method, a teaching strategy. You have some idea of how to respond to this or what the alternatives are.
And you take it into a classroom, whether it’s MBA with 90 students or an executive program with 160. You confront your problem and your analysis of it with this array of experience, from all these different industries, all these different countries, all these different educational and cultural backgrounds. And if you’re confident enough to listen rather than to speak, you inevitably learn something and advance your own understanding of the problem. And, typically, I think a traditional pattern here, is that you write a case. You teach it. You come back from the class. You say, “Boy, you need an exhibit here. This one is wrong. This is a dead end, so I’d better”—you revise the case. . . .
The really successful teaching material around here in a course like BGIE has been revised over and over and over again, many times. Rosenbloom must have rewritten some of those cases and cut and pasted and added things six or seven times. I argue that it’s the counterpart of a laboratory method, where you have a hypothesis. You confront it with evidence. You revise the hypothesis and you run another experiment. That classroom is like an experiment. And it’s a very efficient form of testing your ideas against a whole array of experienced, highly motivated people who are going to make, if you get them to work cooperatively so that they’ll shut up and some fellow who knows something about it, wants to get his point in.