Re: Ceasing to Question LO2980

Mariann Jelinek (
Sun, 24 Sep 1995 18:05:50 +0100

Replying to LO2921 --

Cheers to Ted Forbes for his comments on ceasing to question
(LO2921), elegantly phrased at that. Perhaps we should start a subversive
movement to undermine certainty in the classroom by reverting more
thoroughly to Socratic method. We will, however, have to take into
account the students' decided preference for "answers," a preference that
students of the evolution of thought (Kohl and Perry, among others) tell
us has roots in the adolescent and post-adolescent desire for certitude.
Perhaps we can make critical thinking more comfortable by pointing out
that the only real certitude, is uncertainty - especially in major
business strategy decisions (my line of country).
My experiments this term with undergraduates - in a new format,
with new textbook, cases, a computer program and more - has been to
encourage active questioning of the text's carefully rigorous lists and
models against the cases, what gets into the Wall St. Journal, and the
students' own experience. The surprise (even after nearly 20 years of
teaching) is how hard it is to judge what goes on inside their heads: the
students continually surprise me with their positive reaction to classes
where all these "tough questions" about the value of the subject material,
etc. get raised. I worry they are simply dismissing it, only to get email
thanking me for the discussion: they flourish and delight in the"
priviledge" of testing the text - which should, of course, be routine.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, where are you, now that we need you, with your
commentary on "self reliance"?!)
Thanks, Ted, for the reference on "Critical Thinking;" I'll follow
up on that.


Mariann Jelinek 
Richard C. Kraemer Professor of Business
 Graduate School of Business, 
College of William and Mary, 
Williamsburg, VA 23185

Tel. (804) 221-2882 FAX: (804) 229-6135 ************************************************************************ The only enduring strategic advantage is the ability to change the rules of the game.