‘Real World Experience’ in Teaching

teaching with experience at university

The other day I had a discussion with one of my colleagues about whether or not ‘real’ world experience is important as a teacher. Especially when talking about lecturers at University level. So here’s my take on it. I would be happy if you would let me know what you’re thinking about this topic.

Before we start though: ‘Real World Experience’ in this term means that the lecturer has worked (or still does work) outside the educational system before. In a ‘real’ job. Experience in the business world so to say.

My colleague said she thinks it’s cool when someone does the straight university way into teaching and research. Meaning Bachelor, Master, PhD, Research & Teaching… I, of course, had a different opinion. Here’s why.

In my opinion lecturers at University need to know what’s going on ‘out there’. In the end we prepare our students for the real world and not for the theoretical world within university walls. Sure, some of them might stay in research but most of them are likely to run out into the wild and try to survive there. So if the teacher actually knows what’s going on in the real business world where there’s no ‘alright let’s try again next time’ it adds a lot of valuable experience to what students can actually take away from class.

The theory of most subjects is written in books or scripts (or wikipedia) – it’s the teacher who adds unique information and makes the class more or less interesting / valuable.

If the teacher now comes straight from University. Freshly graduated and starts straight away with his teaching profession that’s, well, not from advantage. I’m not saying that those guys are bad teachers. By far not! I’m just saying they are missing opportunities to gain different sets of experiences and figure out what really is important out there.

So now to what you think…..’real world’ experience: necessary or distracting?

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