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Lessons from tutors who practise what they teach

* 17 June 2004 *

Lessons from tutors who practise what they teach

An Indian cinema critic, one of Britain's top poets and an archaeologist who reconstructs prehistoric buildings are among the staff eager to pass on the learning bug to new students at the University's Centre for Continuing Education (CCE).

The subjects they practise and teach, and a host of others, will be on offer at the CCE open day this Saturday (June 19) from 10am to 2pm at the Downs restaurant in Bramber House on the University's Falmer campus. The open day provides the opportunity to meet tutors and students, find out about courses and what financial support is available and get first-hand advice on what it's like for adults to take up studying after a long break, or even for the first time in their lives.

Courses on offer range from art history, archaeology, creative writing and music to ecology, film and media studies and local history. Taster sessions and short courses are available for those new to the subjects, which can lead to undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses.

Continuing education is seen as a means of improving career prospects, learning new skills, making stimulating use of leisure time or learning just for the enjoyment of it. Some people often make life-changing decisions as a result of taking up studies later on, such as embarking on a new career or developing previously untapped creative skills. It's an experience that the CCE tutors enthusiastically recommend.

Poet Catherine Smith studied on CCE's Creative Writing certificate in 1995 and has been a Creative Writing tutor for CCE since 1998. She was recently chosen as one of the 20 best up-and-coming poets in the country (as featured in The Guardian). Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and her poetry has won rave reviews from, among others, The Times and The Independent. Catherine says: "For me, studying at CCE was my route back into writing. Now I work with people who are at a stage of life where they want to explore their own creativity. For many, school is not the place to do this - it often comes later in life."

Archaeologist Tristan Bareham has been a CCE tutor for 14 years and is manager of the East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Project, a training organisation providing archaeology and museum placements for the unemployed. He is also an expert on reconstruction archaeology and has made numerous TV appearances (on the Discovery Channel, BBC2's recent Seven Ages of Britain, and on Channel 4). Tristan says: "I have seen people changing what they do in their working lives through these courses. Adult students are committed, interested and a joy to teach."

Geetha Jayaraman teaches on the women's studies certificate and film studies short courses. She has worked as a journalist in India and as a film critic specialising in Indian and world cinema. She says: "The potential for learning is there in everyone, but not everybody is exposed to what they want to learn, or are interested in, during the formal learning experience at school. Continuing education gives people the opportunity to discover new topics. It can ignite people's interest and gives them a chance to rediscover learning. As a tutor, I enjoy sharing this process."


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