By Peter Lenn
In the 1960’s, I was a Ph.D. rocket scientist working on controlled nuclear fusion. On the side, I taught Advanced Calculus for Engineers at U.C. Berkeley. The usual 25% in that Master’s degree course did fine. The problem was that, despite my terrific lectures and good intentions, 75% didn’t. They passed the course but didn’t gain any useful or lasting competence or confidence.
In school, it had seemed natural that some of us got A’s and a lot of others didn’t. But now I was the teacher. I was collecting a salary but I wasn’t delivering the goods. A 25% success rate is embarrassing. It indicated I simply didn’t know what I was doing as a teacher.… Continue reading