Reporter 445, 24 January 2000

Painting a happy picture of new skills

John Foster

My name is John Foster and I am employed as a paviour with UNISERV. In September I began an evening course in water-colours at Jacob Kramer College as part of the Learning for Life scheme. This is a joint initiative by Leeds University and Unison and co-ordinated by staff in the SDDU. It has given me a unique opportunity to develop skills in a subject I previously felt beyond me.
I thoroughly enjoy the course and as well as meeting a variety of people from all walks of life and all parts of the world I have found an added bonus in that it enables me to relax. After a hard day’s physical work, I have to force myself to go back out on a Monday night, but by the time I come home I have not only enjoyed myself but have learned further techniques to use in my painting.
The course has been partly funded by the University who paid £100 and I paid the difference of £29, a small sum for a hobby I now have for the rest of my life.
I feel I only had the confidence to take up this course having successfully completed the Return to Learn course two years ago - another joint initiative by Leeds University and Unison.
For the future I hope to continue with my water-colours and hope to learn to play my guitar, which I have tinkered with for years but would now feel confident enough to join an evening class to learn to play it better.
I greatly appreciate the opportunity given to me by Leeds University and Unison and hope others will take advantage of these schemes to develop their own talents and make new friendships.
For more information about the Learning for Life scheme, see page eight.

New teaching title not so topsy-turvy...

Anthea Fraser Gupta

I don’t agree with Thomas Davidson (Reporter 444) that the change in the title of the former Teaching and Learning Committee has had "the reverse effect from that which was intended". There are many pairs in English in which it is the more important or socially superior item that comes first, for example, ‘fish and chips’, ‘lords and ladies’, ‘wine and cheese’.
Another tendency is for the chronologically earlier item to come first, eg ‘wash and dry’, ‘shampoo and set’, ‘slash and burn’. In the case of ‘teaching and learning’ it seems reasonable to say that learning is the happy outcome of an interaction between the would-be learner and the teaching.
As a result, like Thomas Davidson, I prefer ‘teaching and learning’. I also suspect that one consideration in the change of name is that TLC is also an acronym for ‘tender loving care.’

...just too familiar

Katie Wales

Thomas Davidson raises an interesting issue about the salience of ‘teaching and learning’ versus ‘learning and teaching’ (Reporter 444), following the decision of the faculty committee to rename the board ‘to reflect greater emphasis on learning’. However, I think two other factors should be taken into account, which might have (subconsciously) motivated their decision.
One has to do with conjoined noun phrases or ‘binomials’. In phrases like ‘fish and chips’, ‘bread and butter’ or ‘ladies and gentlemen’ the first noun is usually the most prominent or important. The second factor has to do with defamiliarisation.
Perhaps the board felt that the phrase had become so over-used as to be almost a cliché, and that academics needed to be jolted into a fresh appraisal of it.
One means of defamiliarisation, of fresh emphasis, is to move elements of a sentence or phrase from end to front: what Quirk himself calls ‘marked theme’.

New statistical spin on jobs (and crimes)

Andrew Baczkowski

The Reporter (September 27) announced that Leeds graduates were the "second-most employable in the country'’. The claim arose from a survey showing that 57 per cent of the UK’s top companies had taken on a Leeds graduate in the last two years.
There are several explanations for the 57 per cent figure. Perhaps our students are "more employable", but it is also true that Leeds produces a large number of graduates.
It is therefore plausible that 57 per cent of the UK’s police forces had arrested a Leeds graduate in the last two years. It may not automatically follow that our students are then the ‘second most criminally-minded in the country’.

Empty space greets teaching request

Alan Slomson

I am disappointed that my request for information about plans for additional teaching space, which you published in Reporter 442, has not generated any response so far.
It is increasingly difficult to find teaching space, especially for large classes, at convenient times and in convenient places. This threatens the quality of our provision for students and creates stress for everyone involved in timetabling.
The University is planning further increases in student numbers. The projected merger with Bretton Hall will also bring additional students on to the campus.
The University seems to be good at thinking up teaching strategies. I would welcome some evidence that thought has been given to the practical needs, including teaching space, generated by increased student numbers.

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