Ethos can be defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.” Famous Greek philosopher and teacher Aristotle studied and taught the concept of ethos. In The Rhetoric, Aristotle identifies ethos as:
…the character [ethos] of the speaker is a cause of persuasion when the speech is so uttered as to make him worthy of belief, for as a rule we trust men of probity more, and more quickly, about things in general, while on points outside the realm of exact knowledge, where opinion is divided, we trust them absolutely (qtd. in Haskins 44).
From a teaching perspective, ethos can highly affect a classroom’s efficiency. In this case, ethos will be described as a collegiate instructor’s character. To go along with this, credibility, trustworthiness, and general relationships with students an educator in a collegiate classroom must acquire.
Ethos and education often go hand in hand. Although being an effective and accomplished educator is tasking, establishing ethos as a teacher is an undertaking in itself. Ascertaining ethos as a young educator requires time and effort. Incorporate age differences among the teacher and the students, the educator may have to work even harder to establish ethos. Despite the age of the individuals being taught:
It is obvious that education, whether classroom instruction or practical drill, advice or entreaty, must ensure that students are positively involved, that they at least listen and pay attention to the words, actions, and the thoughts of their educators, instead of drifting off or doing something else, or simply leaving to try to learn what they need on their own (Prange 74).
Primarily, age differences among the instructor or professor and the student will occur in a collegiate classroom setting. Bottom line, the age separation between the teacher and student should not negatively impact the instructor’s ability to educate the student. Moreover, teacher-student age separation should not hinder an educator’s ability to establish and maintain ethos. This paper will provide a brief background of non-traditional aged students, discuss the positive aspects of having older students in a collegiate classroom, how to establish ethos between the young teacher and the older student, provide personal experiences, and present final conclusions. Ultimately, the purpose of this paper is to examine and evaluate how young teachers can establish ethos when educating students who are older.
Non-Traditional Aged Students
The term “non-traditional” has been coined to describe and categorize students from non-traditional backgrounds. Non-traditional student diversity may include “age, color, ethnicity, gender, national origin, physical, mental and emotional ability, race, religion, language, sexual orientation and socio-economic status” (Taylor and House 46). From the age perspective, non-traditional...