An apple a day for teachers then – biscuits for students now!

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BRIBERY:Is not the best way forward. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

ANY teachers amongst you out there? Want to be a really outstanding teacher now that school’s back? Well, how about planning truly inspiring lessons while trying to understand the needs of every single student and passing on a passion for your subject that lasts a lifetime?

Or: simply bribe the class with, err, biscuits?

Researchers found that giving students a treat means they not only evaluate their teachers as better educators but also believe the course itself’s improved. The German study demonstrated that in classes involving chocolate biscuits the teacher was rated about 4 per cent better than in classes without, while the course material was judged 20 per cent better. Wow!

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Suggestive digestive? Well that takes the biscuit! Sounds easy in principle but with PC/Generation Snowflake you’d bankrupt yourself buying gluten free, halal, ethically-sourced vegan, low-fat biscuits. And then there’s the risk of invading their safe spaces and the offer of biscuits being seen as a ‘sexual advance’…

However, isn’t there a clear conflict of interest with student questionnaires anyway? Lecturers are supposed to be objective and unbiased in their assessment of students but surely there’s a natural tendency for students to give better reviews to lecturers who’ve given them higher marks?

And student ratings in module questionnaires are readily manipulated too – even without biscuits. One old trick used by staff is to get students to complete their questionnaires at an early morning session. Generally, only eager, committed students come to these classes – the smarty-pants, more know-it-all ones are still fast asleep!

More seriously, using the results of such questionnaires to decide staff promotion and remuneration is distinctly counter-productive in educational terms. It provides a major inducement for staff not only to avoid teaching anything ‘hard’ but promotes grade inflation.

Finally, how reassuring to know that Oxbridge students don’t spend all their time protesting about Britain’s colonial past. Oxford has overtaken Cambridge as the university that spends the most on sex toys from Ann Summers: £11,266 (€12,631) to £9,410 (€10,550). Leeds and Manchester were in third and fourth place. Isn’t student life, err, hectic?

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore.All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity                                      

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