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The question

Teachers

Research this week claims that women make better, more intelligent, teachers than men. How does this reflect your experiences at university, school or college?

Now I am getting on a bit, my memory is not what it used to be. The vague recollections I do have about school are that there were both good and bad teachers, but their sex played no part in my views. It was the style of teaching that either made me sit up and pay attention or drift off while staring out of a window.

A teacher's intelligence is not that important, as the level of the material being taught is quite basic. It is more about how you communicate and maintain the interest of the students.

Nic Luker, 28, field engineer, Kent

I am surprised by research that suggests female teachers are more intelligent than their male counterparts, as this suggests that either women are more intelligent than men in general or that a teaching career attracts more intelligent females than males. Neither of which I would agree with.

I think it is more likely that females are simply better at conveying information in the classroom/teaching environment and would therefore make better teachers for this reason. It is not simply a question of basic intelligence.

As to my own experience, having studied civil engineering at one of the older universities, the lecturing staff reflected the male/female ratio encountered in the wider engineering industry and was therefore almost exclusively male. I do not feel, however, that the lecturing suffered as a result - there were more than a few very sharp minds there!

Simon Lawrence, 28, highways engineer, Cardiff

First I should express an interest: My mother was a teacher and my wife is a teacher - I am sure this does not bias my view at all.

My geography teacher Mrs Oldfield was brilliant at enthusing a class of 30 moody teenagers, and if not for Alison Whitehead, my maths lecturer at Coventry Poly, I would never have got my degree.

Tom Betts, 28, senior engineer, Northamptonshire

The research fits with other studies that have reportedly shown women have better communication skills and a greater capacity for repetitive work than men. I do not remember any marked difference in teaching skills.

Certainly the attractive ones kept my attention better, and if anything they were easier to get round on the homework front.

Mike Gannon, 37 (reconstructed male when suits), engineering manager, Portsmouth

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