Tuesday, June 8, 2010

John Wooden & Teaching

 From Michael Martin, Research Analyst, Arizona School Boards Association.
 From a book Mr. Martin may be publishing:

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) men's basketball team coached by John Wooden won 10 national NCAA championships in 12 years, including seven consecutive national championships from 1966 to 1973, four perfect 30-0 seasons, and in one streak from 1971 to 
1974 won 88 straight games. This despite graduating students each year and acquiring new recruits. And after Wooden retired it was 20 years before UCLA won another national championship. Obviously Wooden knew something few others understood about teaching.

An ESPN series about sports legends asked this legendary college basketball coach, "What is the key to being a good teacher?" John Wooden replied "I think anyone in a position of supervision, if they're not listening to those under them, they're not going to get good results. The supervisor must make sure that all of those under his supervision understand they're working with him, not for him."

It seems pertinent to ask "Why would the greatest college basketball coach in history 'listen' to his students instead of requiring them to listen to him?" Wooden says because that was what made him the greatest basketball coach in history. Wooden did not "teach" basketball, Wooden essentially said he considered his role as collaborating "with" his students. Note also that Wooden described his role as "supervision" rather than teaching, and he described 
"supervision" as "must make sure that all of those under his supervision understand they're working with him, not for him."

Collaboration, not teaching.

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