Sunday, 30 September 2012

Teaching, a New Take on Phone Sext, and Being Peer Reviewed

Last Friday I was able to get into the classroom and do a bit of teaching. Fabulous, and such a rich counterpoint to the rest of my day job at the moment. I was contributing to a new optional module for our BSc Nursing students, now in their second year. There were a number of things about this experience that I found interesting. The first was the requirement to get my learning materials up on the virtual BlackBoard site 3 days before the session so the students could read and start to think about this – an interesting concept. I tend to use lots of images rather than words to literally illustrate my points. This year we had introduced a policy of if you are not there at the start of the session you don’t get to come in late. Every one of the students was there. And not one mobile phone rang during the whole session.

The latter phenomenon I found fascinating, particularly as I read earlier in the week, about a recent study undertaken by Vodafone on peoples phone habits. They wanted to find out if everyone really was constantly on their phones, texting, tweeting, checking emails or playing Angry Birds. There were some interesting results from the survey which polled 2000 people, not least of which was that over a third of the men said they would answer the phone during sex. 62% of all participants revealed that they would answer the phone on a date or the toilet, at the dinner table rather than wait and call back later. 25% of people said they had been given a job offer, nearly 15% said they had been told about the birth of a child and, in London, over 4% of the survey population had been proposed to over the phone. So I was impressed that not 1 phone went off.

My teaching session was a quick canter through some of the philosophical ideas that might underpin the informal carer contribution made to the lives of so many people in the UK. 6.4 million people provide informal care. As noted last month, caring for another can be a 24 hour, 7 days a week commitment, often with very little support. This is despite the fact that such informal care saves the State some £119bn a year in costs.

The session covered the work of Foucault, drawing upon his philosophical writings and his own life and the care he benefited most from, touching base with Durkheim and suicide and society, through Marx, and to Etzinio. And of course it was possible to see how these philosophies had been transposed into political ideologies so we also talked about Thatcher’s Conservatism, Blair’s Third Way and Cameron’s Big Society.

On my mind during the session was that 2 of my colleagues had elected to stay in the lecture theatre while I taught. We had recently agreed as a School to introduce peer reviews of the quality our teaching, but I hadn’t thought it would be me who would experience this first. As I write this I am awaiting the results of the student and peer feedback. Now let me tell you what this feels like, well, excuse me my mobile is ringing, I'll get back to you....

...Hello... ...yes?...