Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Models for the perfect teacher

According to a YouGov survey of 543 children who were asked to choose their perfect teacher from a list of celebrities and fictional characters, the most popular choices were (drum roll):

Female: 1st JK Rowling, chosen by 40%, 2nd Cheryl Cole, chosen by 25%.
Male: 1st Albus Dumbledore, chosen by 36%, 2nd Jamie Oliver and Yoda, chosen by 26%.

The most popular choices by parents were (muted drum roll):

Female: Carol Vorderman, chosen by 48% of parents in the sample
Male: Stephen Fry, chosen by 40%.

Children thought that a sense of humour and fun as the most important qualities in a teacher.  Interestingly, more than 80% of parents opposed cutting education spending, 71% thought that teachers should have a higher self-image, and 74% thought that teachers should have 'more freedom to teach as they please.'  Only 36% of parents think that teachers' pay and pensions should be subject to cuts.  But 49% of parents, and 19% of schoolchildren, think that corporal punishment should be an option in schools (see the TES, 16th Sept 2011).

Yoda is an interesting choice for perfect teacher to me, not least because I am a bit surprised children today have heard of him - Star Wars was released in 1977!  He does have a very impressive range of teaching techniques, including a tangible aura of wisdom, weird sentence construction, telepathy and telekinesis, all of these shared with Dumbledore, who also has saintliness and magic in his arsenal.  I suppose Cheryl Cole is in the frame because of excellent feedback technique demonstrated on X Factor or Celebrity Come Dancing (or whatever).   And Stephen Fry because he seems to know everything, can talk the hind legs off a horse, but still has a smiley, kindly manner.

Memo to self: note other fictional or celebrity characters that could be role models for teachers, for better or worse.  The only one I can think of at the moment is Dr Cox in Scrubs, wonderful but probably not an ideal role model.  If you know the programme, you'll know what I mean.