#22 - Alexander Coward | how might we better approach education?

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Alexander Coward holds a bachelor's and a PHD in Mathematics from Oxford University and an Honorary Doctorate of Education from Thai Nguyen University in Vietnam. Before starting his current education startup, EdeeU, he was a lecturer of Mathematics at UC Berkeley. He was dismissed from his position after a controversial spat with the administration for his highly acclaimed, passionate style of teaching. You can read about this in the excerpt below. 

In this podcast, we focus on his approach to education, the statistics and politics behind the current state of education, and we briefly touch on his philosophy of life. We also talk about his current venture, EdeeU, which you can learn more about visiting the link here.

Alexander Coward's Book Recommendations:

  • The Sane Society, Escape from Freedom - Eric Fromm
  • The Art of Loving - Eric Fromm
  • Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism - Eric Fromm
  • Ethics for the New Millennium - Dalai Lama
  • The Alchemist - Paolo Coelho

“It means teach from the textbook. It means stop emailing students with encouragement, handwritten notes and homework problems, and instead assign problems from the textbook at the start of the semester. It means stop using evidence-based practices like formative assessment. It means micro-manage the Graduate Student Instructors rather than allowing them to use their own, considerable, talent and creativity. And most of all it means this: Stop motivating students to work hard and attend class by being engaging, encouraging and inspiring, by sharing with them a passion for the beauty and wonder of mathematics, but instead by forcing them into obedience with endless busywork in the form of GPA-affecting homework and quizzes and assessments, day after day, semester after semester. In a nutshell: Stop making us look bad. If you don’t, we’ll fire you… Having a Lecturer teach twice the number of students for half the money and do a fabulous job demolishes that argument, and that is why so many people conspired to make it not so, to mischaracterize my teaching, and do everything in their power to remove me.” - https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/just-in/2015-10-20/not-adding-math-lecturer-behind-viral-email-set-lose-his-uc