What follows is an original, unpublished research article written by Dr Hans Bass. He submitted it to numerous science and pedagogical journals several times in the late 1980’s to no avail. However, in an age of accelerating global competition, where any advantage gained in teaching and learning is worthy of exploration, his practical recommendations have found their epoch. I give you… ‘Bum-ology’.
‘Bum-ology’: My CHEEKs hold the key to a lifetime of bumgaged learning fulfilment
The sum of our knowledge of the human bum has increased exponentially in the last two decades. Indeed, what we now know about the bum, if typed out in large font on thick sheets of Charmin paper, would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Not just once, but 3.5 times over.
The bum is the most used part of the human body. The average student spends around 87.5% of his or her school day sat on it. For that reason, it is essential that we give greater credence to the impact of the human bum in the classroom.
I have been a teacher for eight weeks, but before that I was a doctor of bums. I have treated many distinguished people* with bum ailments and feel that the time is ripe to apply my expertise to the world of pedagogy.
I have identified five ways in which the human bum can impede, augment or have no bearing whatsoever upon education. I call these my ‘CHEEKs’. Allow me to define the ways that your teaching and your students’ learning could be significantly improved – by showing you my CHEEKs:
Yes, you read that right. The first facet of CHEEKs, is indeed ‘cheeks’. These globes are two of the three most recognisable parts of the human bum, and as such need to be kept in tip-top condition. For this reason, I advocate the use of non-chafing, Teflon-based pants which seal in freshness and ensure that the cheeks stay pristine, keeping your students focused and learn-ready.
A moist bum can be a source of great discomfort. Sat for minutes on end on plastic or PVC cushioned seats can seriously undermine the concentration of even your most attentive student. Bum-friendly teachers should factor in ‘bum-free’ time, where students can privately air their posteriors without fear of judgement. It goes without saying that to create such a trusting environment takes time and patience on the part of the teacher. But the dividends in learngagement are a worthy return on the time invested.
It is vital that students learn how to sit on both cheeks evenly. A slight favouring of one cheek is only natural, but needs to be corrected to avoid long-term imbalances that could cause back pain. A simple trick that I’ve used to correct this, is to politely and firmly signal ‘two cheeks’ verbally. This can be accompanied with a double-O symbol with the index-fingers and thumbs of each hand (rather like a ‘spectacles’ shape that you may have made as a child, but not held closely to your eyes). It goes without saying that the O’s signify the bum cheeks, rather than the lenses of spectacles.
No two bums are the same. Some do look uncannily similar**, but for the purposes of maintaining the authenticity of this mnemonic, it is important that you and your students appreciate the great variety of backsides. You might find it helpful to show pictures of different rears to your students (you could even turn this into a fun recognition game or into a wall display for your school’s reception) so that students (and the wider community) develop a sensitivity towards and empathy for those with different types of behinds.
It is one thing to be able to recognise a backside within seconds from a Powerpoint photo (as many of my students now can), but quite another to have a deep understanding of the workings of the human bum and how it can be harnessed for learning. That’s why I devote time in my syllabus to the teaching of what I call ‘Bum-ology’: that is nothing less than the foregrounding of posterior-related learning so that students can incorporate knowledge of their own rears into a discrete plan to improve their learn-readiness. On any given day, you might find my students measuring the temperature of their own creases and recording data on a class graph, so that we can make useful links between our attention levels and how hot our bums are. (You’ll notice the cross-curricular links.)
So, there you have it. With my CHEEKs, you can measurably improve the quality of teaching and learning in your classroom. My only warning? That in paying greater attention to the bum needs of your students, you do not neglect your own. We are all on our separate learning journeys, both inward and outward. Don’t forget, from time to time, to look into your own pants. What you find there, could be the key to a lifetime of bumgaged learning fulfilment.
Dr Hans Bass University of Wilmot-Huguenot-Forgetmenot 1987
*For professional reasons, I cannot divulge the names of the famous people I have treated for bum problems. But suffice to say, when you see them sat comfortably on sofas on television – interviewing people or talking to the camera – their comfort is due, in no small part, to my bottom expertise.
**For professional reasons, I cannot divulge the names of the famous people whose bums bear more than a passing resemblance to each other’s. But suffice to say, I found it very hard to distinguish their buttocks and felt grateful that we use faces as our primary means to tell one another apart.