Letter: Personality split

October 12, 2001

Jane Ayres is sceptical that compulsory teaching qualifications for further education tutors will raise standards ("The power of personality", THES , September 21).

While I agree that some inherent skills - Ayres calls it "personality", I would call it "a natural ability to communicate with different people" - are necessary to be an effective teacher, as with all instinctive behaviours they have to be modified and refined in the light of evidence/experience.

I am in my first year of teaching/lecturing in the post-compulsory sector and, since commencing study for a postgraduate certificate of education, have discovered that there is a sound theoretical component to teaching and learning, the emphasis being on the teacher as a "facilitator of learning". Expanding this principle, we have looked at the many teaching strategies that can be employed to assist the learning process so that students get a chance to learn in their "preferred" ways. I knew none of this prior to doing the PGCE.

Sally Bentley
Student, PGCE (PCET)
Havering College

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