Teaching: On the front line

July 23, 2004

What is your experience of teaching?

Name: Matt Bridge


Job: Lecturer in applied golf management studies and sport, physical education and community studies, School of Education, Birmingham University. Honorary research fellow, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Birmingham

Salary: £24,097

Qualifications: BSc in sport and exercise sciences and PhD in mechanisms of fatigue during prolonged exercise in the heat (Birmingham).

Background: Playing rugby union from a young age fostered my interest in all sport. Sport and exercise is not just a research interest, but also a way of life for me. During my first degree, I played semi-professional rugby, and I now regularly race in road cycling events.

Hours spent teaching: On average, I have ten to12 hours of undergraduate teaching a week. On top of this, there is dissertation supervision of about 20 final-year students.

Hours on red tape: I have several roles in the school: undergraduate examinations officer, student representation and co-management of the new golf foundation degree, which is run in conjunction with the Professional Golfers' Association. With all of this and various school committees and boards, I spend about eight to nine hours a week on administrative tasks.

Hours on research: Not enough, seven to eight hours a week. I've just finished my first year lecturing, so some research time has been used to write lectures. In the coming year, I hope to do ten to15 hours a week.

Teaching bugbear: The "I know all this already" attitude and some students'

lack of essay-writing skills. Students often don't appreciate the areas where there is uncertainty in our knowledge. They are too used to having a teacher or book tell them the answer rather than having to weigh up the evidence themselves.

How did you solve it? I ask students what they think they know about a topic and then present and discuss some evidence that opposes their ideas when I next see them. In this way, they start to learn to look at the possibility of there being more than one answer.

Worst teaching moment? Having to lecture to large groups of students. On the funnier side, rushing from the gym to a lecture without realising my jumper was on inside out.

Best teaching moment? When you can see that the penny has finally dropped and a student has grasped a complicated idea.

Teaching tip: If you lecture in sports training methodology and the benefits of an active lifestyle, you must be seen to practise it. If students can see that you believe in something yourself, they become much more receptive to it.

Outside interests: I am training adviser for and member of Team Synergy, a team of young cyclists.

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