I am StrateGigi, an Assistant Professor of Strategy. I recently returned to the French Riviera, the charming place where I teach. In anticipation of the academic year, today I will share my thoughts on the meaning of teaching.
When I was a student, teaching was the practice by which the teacher, the repository of knowledge, transferred his or her expertise to the class. In this one-directional impartation, the class was typically left with the burden of learning, irrespective of the quality of teaching and of the students’ interest in the topics being taught. Intended this way, teaching was probably ineffective. When I was a student, I was forced to learn answers to questions I did not ask and that was the quintessential definition of boring.
Now that I teach, my philosophy could not be any more different. For me, teaching is a conversation to which students contribute by sharing insights and challenging me with questions. In class, we work together, demonstrating the applicability of concepts in real life, formulating games and experiments, and sharing inspiring stories. We cover a few concepts, but we make sure we understand them. We know that learning is a process and that we will inevitably make mistakes along the way. We tolerate failure. After all, who has not failed when learning something new?