Don’t Trust the Teacher!: Advice for/by Students

Self-portrait by Adam Brown, 22 January 2016. Creepy.

I wrote in an earlier blog called ‘Who’s Learning From Whom?‘ about my dismay over the years that the views and ideas of students are often not given the weight they deserve by their peers. That post shared a video with Catherine Shelley, a recent Deakin University graduate now working as an Event Producer, which signified the next stage of my quest to emphasise the importance of student contributions to unit content. I’ve included students in segments of my teaching videos in some form or another since I began making them in 2013, although this gets increasingly difficult when I teach fewer seminars directly and I can’t build enough of a rapport to get many students confidently standing in front of my camcorder. However, the ‘trust issue’ alluded to in the title of this blog takes on a different form than this…

Sometimes the last people students will listen to are teachers. I’m not actually being cynical or negative in saying this (you might not believe me, but that probably underlines my point even more, hashtag #lol). I’m also not advocating the mass dismissal of things that teachers have to say… obviously. The truth is though that if students did constantly heed teacher advice withough question, then everyone would show up to every seminar, read every reading set, and always start assignments long before the deadline. However, these aren’t the kind of things that I’m concerned about in this post. My key point here is that there is some advice that is best delivered to students by students.

Whether it’s partly because of an unconscious perception by some that ‘well, the teacher gets paid to say that’ (technically, that’s actually true on one level), or it’s because students just find other students more relatable (no matter how many T-Shirts I wear), when they are given a genuine and engaging opportunity to listen to each other, students trust students. Plain and simple. And so my latest podcast and two videos embedded below give a lot of space to student voices, because having students tell their peers what works and what doesn’t is often the best way to communicate the importance of being active online and collaborating with their peers.

As if to emphasise the importance of students giving advice to students even more, within a few hours of uploading the above podcast – and while I was writing this blog – a student had created and shared a follow-up podcast of her own:

The other two resources I made with the generous assistance of students contribute to the Talking Digital Media video playlist I’ve been developing over the past few years. I’ve never felt compelled to justify myself as not elitist, but I imagine the early stages of this playlist, which mostly incorporated guest lectures or interviews with other academics and industry practitioners, probably didn’t give the impression of something that was ‘open’ to student involvement. In early 2016, I filmed conversations with current PhD students on areas they knew more about than me, and not long afterwards it seemed clear that undergraduate students were the best people to speak to regarding the crucial themes of student agency, showing initiative, getting experience, and working together online. I look forward to relying on students more often in future, as it should never be students who rely solely on me…

The below video is available as a podcast here.

The below video is available as a podcast here.

Both of these videos came from chance moments when something that I was told in conversation made me instantly think other students have to hear this! And what I will see transpire in future weeks is students giving more advice to each other as they tweet, peer review blogs, and no doubt do other things that I never expected. Such is the nature of teaching… if you still trust me enough to believe that.

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the above content.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on hellotheinternet and commented:
    Getting active early, keeping your social media platforms up to date and giving yourself the best platform for success is key in engaging online

  2. ryjclay says:

    That guy in the floral shirt. – 10/10

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