Disconnecting from our phones
by Madeline Barnes on Friday, June 5th, 2015
At school, my friends range in age from fourteen to nineteen years old, an unsurprising age difference given the four grades comprising Milton’s upper school. A larger age span, however, is present among the faculty at Milton, as some teachers participate in the Penn Fellow Program, while others prepare to celebrate their fiftieth year of teaching. As students, we experience a wide range of teaching styles and methods, and some of that variety is due to the range of age between the faculty members. One must ask, however, if a teacher’s age affects the way students view him or her. Personally, I believe that Milton students accept faculty of all ages and learn to adapt to a specific teacher’s style, which reflects his or her personality and experience more than his or her age.
Is age a factor in influencing teaching style? The technology present in our generation is advancing faster than in previous generations. Some of the older teachers at Milton have a tendency to follow and construct a more traditional teaching style with less online interaction and more hard copy assignments, as opposed to the younger faculty members. The customary teaching styles of some older faculty members is hardly a detriment to students’ education and shows us a traditional perspective on a given subject and a different lens through which to comprehend and analyze a topic or concept. Younger members of the faculty often incorporate a more stylish approach to teaching, incorporating informative technology and modern tools into their curriculum and assignments.
After asking students around campus about the influence of faculty age, I learned that variation in the topics and depth of a particular class discussion depends heavily on a teacher’s previous experience teaching that class. The teacher’s prior experience can determine the diversity of material covered in the class; two teachers, one experienced and one new, who teach the same curriculum will inevitably focus on different aspects of the material and lead the class in a different direction than their counterpart. Of the students I spoke to, none felt that these differences in any way affect their education or the respect they held for their teachers.
Although one could say that some privileges are afforded to more experienced teachers, a similar distinction could also be found among the students at Milton. This is evidenced by age related friend groups or the location of certain grades in the student-center. Nevertheless, the opinions and the respect that we hold for our teachers do not change based on their age, in the same way that a sophomore’s view of a senior doesn’t change just because he is 15 and the senior is 18. There is no question that Milton’s faculty span a significant range of different ages, and these difference allow for different teaching experiences, thereby affecting the way the class is conducted. We are fortunate to have experienced these different teaching styles because it is a luxury that allows us to engage in different approaches to learning.
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