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Is a teacher closer in age to the student going to be more effective than an older teacher?

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Temporarily I suspect, my teenage children, 18 and 16 respectively over the next fortnight, are learning how mutually advantageous it can be to help eachother out - stronger academically our daughter at our son's request is sitting down with him a couple of times a week to go through his GCSE English papers. There's much laughter, rapport and work.

It made me wonder about the age of a teacher in relation to students - the power of peer support from your own generation, young students who have just successfully 'passed through'. And then the value of empathy between younger teachers and lecturers.

Not meaning to sound sexist and agist, at primary school all my teachers were elderly and female - in a boy's school. I do rather think that we would have responded better to younger male teachers. My son at a co-ed school never had a male teacher in five years - there only ever was one male teacher in the entire establishment who retired to be replaced by a young male teacher who left after a year.

I know I will be told that other qualities overide age and gender, but where empathy and rapport matter would not a thorough mix of ages, gender and other qualities work best of all?

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Bren P, Saturday, 31 May 2014, 15:41)
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Design Museum

Why blog? A lecturer's perspective

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:28

Why blog? The lecturer's story

Dr Matthew Ashton's blog

Six months updating it roughly once a day.  Around the 500 word mark range from topical pieces to reviews and commentary.

WHY?

A rewarding experience

New ways of teaching learning student engagement

A wide range of political topics every week.  Students don’t fully engage with the wider subject area. An excellent knowledge of contemporary politics but less aware of events from before 1989.

Friday called “Great political mistakes” drip feeding them knowledge.

Saturday on “Political advertising”  helps raise awareness amongst students of political advertising techniques and campaigns and how they’ve changed over time. A way of engaging with student learning. 

By writing reviews of political films and books I can point students towards interesting ideas and resources. 

Encouraging writing and research

500 words acts as a warm  up exercise  A way of stockpiling material. Prepared

New ways of sharing ideas and research findings

VS. The traditional dissemination of research through books and journals can take years.

It can act as an unofficial means of peer review.

Engaging with people outside the academic

Share ideas and dialogue with people from a range of countries and backgrounds.

For instance I’ve had some  illuminating conversations with an American about Native American rights in the media and how they relate to the US Constitution. 

In the same way people have pointed me towards books and documentaries that I wasn’t aware of that I’ve subsequently shared with my students.

Raising your academic profile

It is a source of material for the media. I’ve written several blog posts that have subsequently been used by the press as newspaper articles or led to me being interviewed on the radio. This is useful in terms of both raising my own profile and promoting the work done by the university. 

On one recent occasion the press office contacted me to let me know that a blog article I’d written on Mubarak’s options in Egypt had appeared in a newspaper in Tanzania. 

On a more local level I wrote an article based on my recent research on the coverage of female sports that was featured in the Nottingham Post newspaper.

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