Saturday, August 7, 2010

Find the Variables That Lead To Experimentation

I have recently been writing about some of the wonderful people that I met at the American Accounting Association annual meeting in San Francisco. On this past Wednesday, I participated in a panel discussion on blogging: how is it done and why do we do it? I talked for about 10 minutes about my blog and the enjoyment I get in writing about teaching and hearing from my readers about their teaching.

On the panel, I was sitting beside of Tom Selling who has the incredible blog The Accounting Onion ( When I returned to my seat, he handed me a sheet of paper where he had written a few sentences that he had penciled while I was speaking. I thought his words on self-improvement in teaching were so neat that I wanted to pass them along to you. (Thanks – Tom – this was one of those moments where I said “Gee, I wish I had said that.”)

“Teaching is highly idiosyncratic. The process of self discovery through experimentation is integral to self-improvement. It is inherently experimental.

“Does talking about teaching make you a better teacher? Yes, because it helps you decide what variables to change in your next experiment.”

So, go find another teacher who shares your passion for helping students to learn. Offer to buy that person a cup of coffee if they’ll just sit and chat with you about teaching. Use that conversation to start thinking about the variables, the things you can change in your teaching, and then go experiment to see where improvement can be found.

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