Laurie Taylor Column

October 17, 2003

" What exactly is the nature of university education if most undergraduates now receive a substantial proportion of their teaching from temporary, part-time postgraduate tutors?" - Question posed in The THES on October 10 by Gurminder K. Bhambra

Yes, do come in. There's still some room up here on the radiators. Right, could we try and shut the door now? That's it. Good. Well, let me welcome you to the first meeting of this third-year seminar on advanced semiology.

My name is Mike Tremlett and I'll be taking this class for the next two terms. Before we begin I think it's very important that we all get to know each other. So, are there any questions you'd like to ask me? Yes, the student with the beard.

Do we call you "doctor" or "professor"?

I should have my doctorate in about four years.

So you're a first-year postgraduate here at Poppleton? A part-time, temporary postgraduate?

That's right.

Have you ever done any teaching before?

Not actual teaching.

Any teacher training?

Not as such.

And what are your qualifications for teaching advanced semiology?

I took a third-year undergraduate course. Here, at Poppleton.

The very same course we're on then. And who taught you? Was it a doctor or a professor?

It was Janet Rogers.

A first year, part-time temporary postgraduate?

That's right. Well, that's quite enough about me. Time now for you to answer a few questions.

Right. Here's your first question. Your very first question. Yes, here it is. Your very first question. And here it is. ErmI What question do other tutors usually ask at this point in the first seminar?

Just a hint would help.

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