Better balance needed

July 31, 2008

Our research uncovered a range of responses to the challenges faced by personal tutors and students but the headline on your story reported the extremes of this distribution as if they were the typical responses ("Massive shift leaves students adrift and tutors 'swamped'", 17 July). They were not. The finding was not that tutors were being "swamped" but that one tutor used this word to describe his or her fears.

The balance of the article, although better than that of the headline, likewise favoured the negative at the expense of the many positives found by the research, and sacrificed the nuances and complexities of the findings in favour of simple, sensational but misleading messages. The reference to the work of Dennis Hayes suggests a connection between his opinions and our research. This connection does not exist: we did not find that students were being "infantilised" in a "therapy culture". I strongly object to being associated with these views, which I reject as flawed, tendentious and harmful.

Mike Hall, University of Brighton.

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