The Future of Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

‘Good teacher, bad teacher’: Investigating gossip in a women’s college in Kuwait

Nada Gharabali, University of London (United Kingdom)

Abstract

This paper investigates how and why female students at the English Department (TED) of the College of Basic Education in Kuwait frequently engage in evaluative discourse about their professors. The study reveals key aspects on how evaluative information about professors is circulated and processed by students through different mediums, such as social media, an online student forum, graffito on classroom tabletops, and so on. Utilizing sociolinguistic quantitative and qualitative analysis, we gauge the frequency of using evaluative adjectives and how it affects the strength or validity of student’s judgments over professors and their teaching performances. We also examine the various reasons why students at TED have this strong tendency to engage and spread gossip about their professors. Our findings indicate that there is a strong emphasis by students on course grades rather then knowledge or the learning experience resulting from attending college. In order to graduate with high grades students exert substantial efforts into choosing their preferred professors for a certain course. These efforts manifest themselves through gathering background information about professors to establish who according to the students is a ‘bad teacher’ and who is a ‘good teacher’.

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