Can you explain what he meant by "counting"?
he asked the students, "you are counting, aren't you?", but i don't believe he meant counting strictly by the time signature always, but sometimes counting the phrases in a way so as to capture the entire expression.
For example, if the time sig was 4/4 with 4 consecutive bars of triplets (1 and ah 2 and ah 3 and ah 4 and ah, 2 and ah 2 and ah 3 and ah...) he wanted the student to count it as "one" (silent: andah2andah3andah4andah) "Two" (silent: andah2andah3andah4andah) "THRee" (silent: andah2andah3andah4andah) "FOUR!" (silent: andah2andah3andah4andah), assuming the 4 bar passage was a crescendo.
if it was 3 phrases of 4 bars each you would be counting the phrases, one, two, three, four, Two, Two, Three, Four, THRee, TWo, THRee, FOur, and so on, so the focus, once again, is on the complete musical statement, not the individual notes or bars.