Switching from an exposition of the instructor's philosophy by the instructor himself to a report from the other side of the desk, the next paper, by DeWitt Dearborn, presents one man's account of what he observed taking place in a series of meetings of a class with a particular instructor.
DEWITT C. DEARBORN
This paper is based on observations made by the writer during fifteen class meetings at the Harvard Business School. The meetings, running for eighty minutes at a time, extended in broken sequence over a period of three months during the first part of the course in Finance, a required course in the first year of the two-year program. The observations were made in a section in which there were about ninety-five students.
The purpose of the observations was to record what the instructor did rather than what the students did in the classroom situations, with a view to determining whether any generalizations could be made about the function of the instructor in case discussion meetings. Attention was concentrated on the overt behavior of the instructor; thus the report presents very little subjective analysis of why the instructor did what he did or what specific or general effects on the class could be associated with his actions. It is pertinent to remark that the observer thought the teaching successful.
The paper is in three parts. The first presents a narrative description of three classroom sessions, with particular attention to the activities of the instructor; the second presents a topical treatment of the roles played by the instructor; and the third presents some general comments and tentative conclusions.
At the outset the observer kept notes which recorded content as well as interactions. On reviewing the notes after the first several days, the observer concluded that the instructor had been placed, or had placed himself, in situations in which he assumed "roles" that fell into an increasingly familiar pattern. From this point on, the observer turned his attention to isolating and defining these roles and to considering the performance of the instructor in each of them.
Over the period of the observations there was day-to-day fluctuation in the number of roles and their conformity to the tentative pattern;