Possibly the coldest day of the year so far, power failures in the church, a bit of a blizzard ... all these things gave me a few logistical challenges on 31 January,the day of the latest M1 course in Bardwell, Suffolk. However, nothing stopped Graham Nabb from getting here with his usual promptness, nor the participants,who came from Norfolk, East Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire for another useful day of learning and teaching.
There’s not a lot more I can say about the day which hasn’t already been said in lots of other reports, but from my perspective as a Local Organiser, I think it’s crucially important to keep the momentum going after the course, and to this end here in west Suffolk we have started a monthly Teaching Practice which new teachers can come to, either with or without their learners – and lots haven’t got learners – and just practise some of the techniques learnt on the day course. These have been hugely successful and have additionally allowed us to keep making sure new teachers get assessments when they are ready for them. New teachers need time to practise their skills, and they have been able to do this with each other if they haven’t felt ready to do it with a real raw recruit. At the same time, new learners who come have appreciated the opportunity to practise new skills with a different teacher.
I think there can sometimes be too much emphasis placed upon how many new ringers are generated from the ITTS, and not enough emphasis is given to the fact that this scheme is primarily about improving the quality and quantity of good, confident teachers.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.