Two kinds of teaching

by Bruce Kasanoff on July 13, 2010

Seth Godin is positioned as a marketing and innovation guru, but secretly he’s just a really smart person. Here’s a recent post from his blog on education:

Two kinds of schooling

Type 1. You can take a class where you learn technique, facts and procedures.

Type 2. You can take a class where you learn to see, learn to lead and learn to solve interesting problems.

The first type of teaching isn’t particularly difficult to do, and it’s something most of us are trained to absorb. The first type of schooling can even be accomplished with self-discipline and a Dummies book. The first type of class is important but not scarce.

The second kind, on the other hand, is where all real success comes from. It’s really tricky to find and train people to do this sort of teaching, and anytime you can find some of it, you should grab it.

The sad thing is that we often conflate the two. We think we’re hiring someone to do the second type, a once in a lifetime teacher, someone who will change the outlook of stellar students. But then we give them rules and procedures and feedback that turn them into a type 1 teacher.

Even worse, we often pay as if we’re getting the scarce and valuable type 2 teachers but we end up hiring and managing type 1 teachers.

I spend a lot of time in colleges and other teaching institutions. Over and over I see the same thing–organizations that have painted themselves into a corner, keeping themselves busy but refusing to do the difficult work of teaching people to see. The dean of one college was so stuck in his type-1ness that he couldn’t even bring himself to participate in a session run by a gifted type 2 teacher.

Is there anything more important to you and your organization (or your kids or your town) than figuring out how to obtain and share the wisdom that real teaching can deliver?

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: