Teaching With or Against Human Diversity

Mark Edmundson, a professor of English at the University of Virginia, defended traditional lectures in a New York Times op-ed titled “The trouble with online education”. He described how he teaches. When he teaches, he fails to

1. Pay attention to what students want to learn.

2. Treat different students differently (beyond giving them different grades).

A few weeks ago, I described how doing these two things made teaching much easier. It’s like swimming with or against the current. You can take advantage of human diversity (my approach) or you can ignore it (Edmundson’s approach), which means fighting against it.



One Reply to “Teaching With or Against Human Diversity”

  1. Seth,
    How can we translate your thinking about diversity in teaching to how managers guide people to get work done in the work place – e.g., flexible work schedules or working from home.

    Seth: There is a book called First Break All the Rules that discusses exactly this point. I blogged about it here: https://www.sethroberts.net/2007/05/12/my-theory-of-human-evolution-business-book-edition/. I can’t remember what it says. I have never been a manager, but I guess I would meet with each employee and start by saying something like this: “I have no interest in making you like everyone else. All I care about is that you get your work done and help your co-workers get their work done. How do you think you can best accomplish that?” Workers in many jobs are much more interdependent than students so I suppose if someone works from home they would need to be always available for phone calls during working hours except during lunch hour.

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