strathspey Archive: Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

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Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12948 · Ian Brockbank · 2 Sep 1998 17:49:13 · Top

Hi all,

now that the teacher's exam season is over (at least around this neck of
the woods) there's a chance to sit back and take stock of the results.
And Caroline has noticed a distinct pattern among those whose results we
know - the scientific types are at a disadvantage.

Her theory is that such types continually look for "what I have to do to
pass" and "what will fail me" and work from a palette of "known good"
actions to earn plus points, whereas the more intuitive, less analytical
ones absorb the expected behaviour and teach with that feel.

When it comes to the exam, it's all down to how the examiners feel the
prospective teachers have done, so there aren't points to score, and it's
more a feeling that the examiners are looking for, so while the analytical
ones may do all the right things to score the points, they don't have the
"feel" and so they fail (or maybe scrape through), whereas the intuitive
candidates may make mistakes and not get in all the "plus points", but
they "feel" like a proper teacher and so they pass.

So those who fail, or at least the analytical ones, look for reasons why
they failed, add up their "score" and can't see what went wrong, because
"feels like a teacher" isn't on it, and is too amorphous to quantify
anyway. So they feel cheated.

How could things be improved for such candidates?

There could be a whole set of areas where candidates can be rated,
eg

Footwork:
3 Puts the manual to shame.
2 Good, with minor flaws.
1 Adequate, but not particularly accurate.
0 Is that SCD?

Use of voice:
3 Audible even by deaf Angus McCrullet in the back row, pleasant,
varied tone. Could happily listen for days.
2 Generally audible, pleasant, varied tone.
1 Audible but monotonous/sometimes difficult to hear/...
0 An inaudible mouse.

Each examiner should fill these out independently and total up the marks,
and also give their own personal feeling as to whether this is a teacher
or not (as currently), possibly giving this a rating, and then the four
ratings could be combined with ?equal? weight into one overall mark which
could then be considered against bands of definite pass/borderline
pass/borderline/borderline fail/definite fail, with the examiners'
discretion used in the borderline cases to overrule cases where the marks
don't really reflect the candidate because (for instance) they have a major
flaw in one category which would prevent them being an effective teacher,
even though all the other marks are reasonable. Of course they would have
to justify overturning the final mark, if they decided to.

This scheme would make the process more quantifiable, and give the "scientists"
more of an idea of where their problems lie.

Thoughts?

Ian
---
Ian.Brockbank@digital.com Edinburgh, Scotland
Grand Chain: The Scottish Dance and Music Resource:
--- http://www.tardis.ed.ac.uk/~ibb/scd/

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12949 · Richard L. Walker · 2 Sep 1998 18:43:36 · Top

I think the system has been and continues to be broken. When we
ask, "generally, which groups make up the majority of our Scottish
Country dancers" we tend to say, "engineers, librarians,
scientists all seem to love it." When we ask, "which groups have
that undefinable something we look for in a teacher" we tend to
look elsewhere because those slacker, analytical folks who just
like to "get by" miss that quality needed for teaching. I would
rather think that, given time and training, almost anyone (right
or left brained) who desires to teach can learn to teach -- and
teach well. Although I like any idea that will get the
subjectiveness out of the pass/fail situation, I don't think that
will ever work. It certainly doesn't in business. Those who
would normally be failed for lacking that certain something, will
simply be given lower scores and failed anyway. The numbers sound
good but I don't think they would work in such a subjective
activity.

I thought of another strategy that, although having some good
qualities, will never happen (at least I hope it doesn't -- for
obvious reasons). Most candidates are tutored. If tutored
properly, the final testing should almost be a rubber stamp
probably seeing 95-100% of the candidates pass. Obviously it
isn't given the high failure rate. If a tutor says you are
properly prepared to be a teacher, and the candidate fails, the
tutor should loose his or her certification. (See why this will
never work?) The result of such a policy would be a disaster
(although I like to think about it). The teacher who fails the
candidate would be immediately put under the microscope for
competency. Locations would end up with teachers / tutors and
candidates who might just say to heck with it. Not a good thing.
I do feel that there needs to be more of a link between the person
giving the candidate the test and the candidate's tutor. If that
bridge is not built, I don't think the exam process will improve.

Hmm, I think that this "get by kind of guy" should quit reading th
is list until the smoke clears. These are my thoughts, but now It
shouldn't be too difficult to hear some "better" ideas.

>This scheme would make the process more quantifiable, and give
the "scientists"
>more of an idea of where their problems lie.
>Thoughts?

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12950 · M.J.Norman · 2 Sep 1998 19:50:18 · Top

>Snip! a whole lot of good comments from Ian.

>Footwork:
>3 Puts the manual to shame.
>2 Good, with minor flaws.
>1 Adequate, but not particularly accurate.
>0 Is that SCD?

Snip
>This scheme would make the process more quantifiable, and give the "scientists"
>more of an idea of where their problems lie.
>
>Thoughts?
>

Well, I guess I fit the pattern. I'm a non-scientist. I did the
Prelim exam at St. Andrews this year (passed, thank God), and as a matter
of fact, they did include a tick sheet with my notification! It doesn't go
into as much detail as Ian's suggested items, but it's a start. Did
candidates from other centres also received this kind of tick sheet?
Basically, the one I got lists a bunch of items under three titles
(for each part of the exam); Theory, Practical Dancing, Teaching. For
example, Teaching is broken down into 9 things, including Steps,
Formations, etc. To the right there are 2 columns, labeled A and B. A is
ticked if you achieved the standard, B is ticked if you did not. That's
it. There is a larger space to the right for written comments. Though
there were none made on my sheet, I hear that other people did get some,
even those who passed. I wonder how many ticks in the B column one can get
and still pass?
This is a big change from previous years and I applaud the effort!
But I certainly feel that a more detailed version could be developed, maybe
something like what Ian has suggested, with 3 or 4 levels for each point.
As a former English teacher with vast experience of tick sheets (ugh!), I
can see the attraction of a simple Pass/Fail version from the examiners
point of view. However, if the Society is looking to help failed candidates
improve on their weak points, they have to be more specific about those
weak points. Otherwise, we might well ask, what is the purpose of this
sheet?
From the point of view of someone who has failed and wants to know
which things they need to work on, there is still a problem with the sheet
I received. If you get a tick in the B column, then there needs to be a
written comment saying what it was about your Use of Voice (or whatever)
that didn't meet the standard, or you're still in the dark. Either that,
or each item needs to be broken down into levels, as Ian has suggested. As
long as there is some guidance for the candidate as to what to work on.
Just my humble opinion ;-).

Now I've passed I should probably just shut up and keep my head
down :), but as we've made it over the ticksheet hurdle (though still
imperfect), I have another issue and I'd be very interested to hear what
other candidates' experiences have been with this. Debriefs.
I did fail the first time and both of the debriefs (fail and pass)
afterwards were 100% negative. Both times the examiners went over
everything I'd done wrong and only said something positive when I asked a
question about something I was pretty sure I'd done well. As far as I know,
this was the experience of everyone else in my class (there were 12 of us).
Unless you are mentally prepared for this overwhelming negativity, it can
be devastating.
Taking either exam is a very stressful, physically-demanding,
emotionally-charged time, no matter how confident you may feel. This is
the point at which the Society is alienating some of its most potentially
valuable members. Enthusiastic, motivated, _good_ dancers come away from
their debrief in tears, seriously discouraged and disillusioned. It took
me 2 years to summon up any enthusiasm for SCD again after I failed, and I
know I'm not the only person to experience this. I realise they don't want
to give you an idea of whether you've passed or failed, and that time is
limited, but to me, the debrief is the most serious problem with the exam
process (aside from the huge problem of its subjectivity). I'd be very
interested to hear what other candidates think about this.

Monica

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12952 · Ian Price · 2 Sep 1998 22:46:20 · Top

>Hi all,
>
>now that the teacher's exam season is over (at least around this neck of
>the woods) there's a chance to sit back and take stock of the results.

--edited for brevity--

>So those who fail, or at least the analytical ones, look for reasons why
>they failed, add up their "score" and can't see what went wrong, because
>"feels like a teacher" isn't on it, and is too amorphous to quantify
>anyway. So they feel cheated.

>There could be a whole set of areas where candidates can be rated,

--edited for brevity--

>This scheme would make the process more quantifiable, and give the
"scientists"
>more of an idea of where their problems lie.
>
>Thoughts?
>
>Ian.Brockbank@digital.com <

I'm going to jump in here since I claim qualification on two counts. I just
witnessed a whole prelim class go through ther exams at TAC Summer school
(as their musician), and in my other life I've just also completed a month
of evaluating contractors' bids for construction work using a federal
government rating procedure not very different from what Ian Brockbank
proposes. Also I suppose being married to a professional teacher (and
lapsed RSCDS Prelim.) colours my view. [end of non-disclaimers]

IMBO, the over-riding quality the RSCDS should require of its prospective
disciples would have to be the 'je-ne-sais-quoi' of what makes a teacher
motivate a class to learn - and it has to be scored on a
'you-either-got-it-or-you-aint' basis. Whilst it is also essential to 'know
your stuff' and 'practice what you preach', an acceptable combination of
those two qualities is immediately pretty obvious to anyone in the
examination room. Yes, doing it under pressure is part of the game too.

Whilst the awarding of government contracts and the spending of public
money requires the accountability of a rating scheme to guide evaluators, I
don't believe it's necessary or desirable to hold the RSCDS' teacher
examiners to the same standard of accountability since

(a) there are so few of them they can easily establish a consistency of
judgement amongst themselves,

(b) they are accountable to the executive of a voluntary society, not the
compulsory taxpayers of a government, and

(c) I trust their absolute judgement and discretion in this matter, since I
also trust the Society to appoint its Elders to the task as they see fit.

I recall this is the same topic I was expounding on when I unsubscribed
from the list in Jan 97. To the effect that "if you can't figure out why
you failed, you're not fit to be a teacher anyway". Catch-22? Perhaps, but
one of the saving graces of the RSCDS (and its best hope to maintain
standards) is its autocracy.

Those who 'feel cheated' by their failure to survive this process, may wish
to re-evaluate their original motives and review whether they appreciated
the risk of failure before they started down the road ... I feel it's
more important not to cheat a new Scottish Country Dancer out of being
properly taught.

Regards
-2chter

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12954 · The_Healys · 3 Sep 1998 02:40:49 · Top

Ian Price,

As so often I take your point but disagree with you on the big
picture. I agree totally that teaching is about a "je ne sais
quoi" or as my Mother-in-Law of sainted memory used to say
"If you've got it, flaunt it". The problem is that the RSCDS
system is NOT about annointing those that have got it but of
elevating those that have mastered the exam technique. Anybody
who was at the first fortnight of Summer School Prelim and
Certificate Party saw in action a young man who totally took over,
and held in the palm of his hand, all present including a number
of Summer School teachers and had even examiners doing what he
asked as he effortlessly MC'd the evening - danced SCD, ballroom
and anything in between with an easy grace and yet - FAILED the
exam! Conspiracy theories abound and Oliver Stone is being invited
to shoot "RSCDS Exams - the movie!" He obviously did something
wrong in the opinion of some examiner but I am prepared to predict
that within ten years he will be major draw on the International
circuit. (No names, no pack drill but a lot of people were at
that party and know of what - or even, of whom - I witter). If
Caroline's theory were correct he would have passed - he did not.
The exception that proves the rule? - regrettably, no. The
problem is and remains that, for a voluntary society, the
examination process remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma and
mere mortals i.e. the members who pay their subscriptions are not
entitled to know why, having given up two weeks of their holidays
and shelled out a minimum of USD 800 before travlling costs, they
are inadequate. As somebody said at the Strathspey get-together
in the same first fortnight, the problem with the RSCDS is that it
is run by people whose ambition in life is to teach six year olds.

Jim Healy
Perth, Scotland

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12962 · Armin Busse · 3 Sep 1998 12:26:43 · Top

Having recently survived the Exam process, whatever it is I must got
it, because I passed. I wish I knew what it was.
Monica mentioned the tick sheets, and I agree they are a step in the
right direction. Ian's suggestion of subsets makes a lot of sense. I
received comments on mine, which were very interesting. I am extremely
proud of myself that I didn't receive the dreaded "talks too much"
comment. I worked hard to make that go away (end of brag) But I could see
where examiners who weren't long on words might give the candidate more
information with more ticks. As example, one comment I received was on the
pace of my lesson. The examiners felt I should vary it, slow down once in
a while (although how I get through exercises, ladies chain, pousette AND
a 32 bar reel in half an hour at anything less than breakneck speed I
couldn't guess).
As too Ian's (and Carolyn's) original observation, it seems
accurate. However, not all techy types fail (myself as case in point).
There IS a predominance of science engineer types in SCD and that is good.
But just as in busines a good engineer doesn't necessarily make a good
manager (something my former employer seemed hellbent on disproving), the
same holds true in this case. Now don't get me wrong, engineers CAN make
good teachers, I'm married to one. IMHO he is an excellent teacher, but
he's had lots of practice and benifitted from others teaching SCD. In my
case, I did field service, I HAD to be nice.
I believe the truth lies somewhere between Jim and 2chter. There HAS
to be some subjectivity, but I don't think the Examiners should play tin
gods. I am very familiar with the case Jim cited and I agree, that person
will not only become a teacher, but will do workshops all over the world,
he's that good. But I also saw him as he came out of his exam. He was a
basket case of nerves. It is entirely possible his nervousness
communicated itself too strongly. It's happened before.
So we have to allow the exmainers to do their job. But we also
should demand that they do it concientiously and not take out personal or
political grievances on the candidate. Examiners that do that should not
be asked to examin.
On the subject of Examiners, as Monica pointed out, many seem to be
very critical. They are taking their tasks seriously. I suspect there is a
bit of culture clash as well, all the examiners I've had were old-school
Scots, they ain't been known to mince words.
My advice to folks considering taking the teachers exam;
Think like a DANCER not a teacher. Teach a class you would like to
attend. BE the teacher you enjoy being taugh by. By the time you get to
your exam you will know about teaching points, steps, exercises. Make up
your lesson plan with all the i's dotted and the Ts crossed, internalize
it and then have FUN with the dance, and dancing better (not talking ;-).
Then pass or not, you know YOU had a good time. If you enJOYed it, some in
the class probably did too, and that is what dancing and teaching dancing
is really all about.
Maybe that is the difficulty the engineer/scientific types have,
they take it all too seriously. And why the IT is so difficult to
quantify.
happy dancing,
Coletta Busse

## CrossPoint v3.02 ##

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12971 · Ian Price · 3 Sep 1998 21:08:25 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> I believe the truth lies somewhere between Jim and 2chter. There HAS

to be some subjectivity, but I don't think the Examiners should play tin
gods. I am very familiar with the case Jim cited and I agree, that person
will not only become a teacher, but will do workshops all over the world,
he's that good. But I also saw him as he came out of his exam. He was a
basket case of nerves. It is entirely possible his nervousness
communicated itself too strongly. It's happened before.<

Hi Coletta!

I would hope that those in the Society who appoint examiners would revoke
such appointments if there were evidence that their trust was being abused.
As would I am sure a conscientious examiner (also hope).

However as Jim Healy pointed out, none of us can ever see the whole
picture, and my comments were based on an entirely different set of
circumstances half a world away, but nevertheless observation of the same
process.

Coletta seems to have identified another side to the apparent "Travesty At
St.Andrews", of which I have absolutely no first hand knowledge (and the
details of which are not appropriate for public discussion). The examiners
must have had their reasons, to which we are not privy and I believe are
none of our business. If the unsuccessful candidate wishes to take it
further, I'm sure he can take it up with the Society at top level. If he
fails to win any satisfaction, I'm sure he will teach without a Certificate
anyway, and what can/will the Society do to stop him?

Just what are the benefits of holding an RSCDS Teaching Certificate anyway?
To my recollection, you can't teach a class organised by an RSCDS Branch
without one (even that's not quite true because you have to have teaching
experience to take even the preliminary test in the first place and the
Society doesn't recognise classes other than their own - Catch-22 again!).
If you are a certificated teacher, and there are two of you, you can
upgrade your scd club to Branch status (whoop-de-doo!), And that's about
it, except for all the things I've forgotten which will be in tomorrow's
e-mail <grin>. I'm deliberately not including status and vanity here, since
that's NEVER a factor.

>From the RSCDS' perspective, it's not in their interests to have a lot of
non-certificated teachers running around out there (particularly the
pissed-off variety who feel they were failed on the strength of their
American accent or whatever), so they would be stupid to refuse a
certificate without a good reason even if that reason continues to be known
only unto themselves.

Just gie'in' it anither turn wi' the spirtle....

-2chter

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12981 · Ron.Mackey · 4 Sep 1998 01:45:23 · Top

As somebody said at the Strathspey get-together
> in the same first fortnight, the problem with the RSCDS is that it
> is run by people whose ambition in life is to teach six year olds.
>
> Jim Healy
>
Oh, hear, hear.

Jim, you won't be the only one to lose brownie points !
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 12982 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 4 Sep 1998 01:56:09 · Top

Jim Healy wrote:

> Anybody who was at the first fortnight of Summer School Prelim and
> Certificate Party saw in action a young man who totally took over,
> and held in the palm of his hand, all present including a number
> of Summer School teachers and had even examiners doing what he
> asked as he effortlessly MC'd the evening - danced SCD, ballroom
> and anything in between with an easy grace and yet - FAILED the
> exam!

Back in the old days, (leans on zimmer frame), when I took my Prelim,
we organised a class item for the Friday night ceilidh - I say
"we" but we were under the direction of one of our class members
who taught us a broom dance - the item was a considerable success,
as after we had demonstrated the dance he obtained volunteers
from the audience, and taught it to them. However one of his
examiners was oveheard saying "Why on earth didn't you teach like
that during the exam!"

Nothing changes!


Malcolm

--
_ _
|_|_ |_| Malcolm & Helen Brown (York UK) - m.brown@netcomuk.co.uk (Tir-Nan-Og)
_ |_|_
|_| _|_| Connecting via NETCOM Internet Ltd
|_|

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 12986 · Richard L. Walker · 4 Sep 1998 02:19:16 · Top

Seems like the exam process might be too far from the real world.
In order to teach in the dance world, you first have to learn to
teach in
the exam world -- and the two are not necessarily the same. What
I
read going through the archives is that Miss Milligan understood
this
-- and took it into consideration; the majority of present day
examiners
apparently do not. That, or I'm reading incorrectly.

>snip
>Back in the old days, (leans on zimmer frame), when I took my
Prelim,
>we organised a class item for the Friday night ceilidh - I say
>"we" but we were under the direction of one of our class members
>who taught us a broom dance - the item was a considerable
success,
>as after we had demonstrated the dance he obtained volunteers
>from the audience, and taught it to them.

>However one of his examiners was oveheard saying "Why on earth
>didn't you teach like that during the exam!"
>
>Nothing changes!

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 12993 · Courtney Cartwright · 4 Sep 1998 11:04:57 · Top

I can't tell you how important I feel Coletta's take on this issue is. I
have often felt that the one overriding quality of a true teacher is that
feature which makes the class want to attend -- really want to attend, not
just show up
because perhaps there's only one class available. We've all felt it at some
time
in our lives, but for some reason, many of us don't recall that feeling in
the context of preparing/presenting our own classes.

I'm a believer in the simple policy of -- keep them moving, keep them
laughing, and above all be clear in your communications -- you can't go
wrong. Having said that, there are many traps which seemto prevent most of
us from attaining these simple goals. Perhaps one teacher talks too much,
making the class stand around too long. Maybe someone else regularly hasn't
prepared adequately. Perhaps a third has both the ability to keep a class
moving, and is prepared like a general for a major invasion, but has all the
humour and expression of a piece of wood.

But, I do know of many excellent teachers who have failed, some more than
once, due to some vagary or whim of an examiner. Sometimes this has
permanently dammaged the person, and they have stopped teaching or even
dancing, altogether.
Sometimes this has made that person even more determined to succeed, and
usually they have.

One of the suggestions I have heard from some friends in Scotland is to
expand the examination panel to include a third examiner. The idea being
that in the past, examinations have often included two examiners, usually
one more senior in length of service and/or character; the exam process has
been such that if the
examiners disagree on whether a candidate passes or fails, the candidate fails.
So if one of the two examiners feels your technique is too exuberant, or your
teaching style is too laid back or too pushy, that examiner can fail you.
With a third examiner, majority rules and some of the one-sidedness goes away.
This might be worth looking into, though I think the Society might feel this
to be too cumbersome.
Courtney Cartwright
Tucson, Arizona USA
ccartwri@primenet.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13077 · SMiskoe · 15 Sep 1998 02:56:03 · Top

The learners permit for the preliminary certificate is a good analogy but
there are many people who have, for various reasons, passed this level and not
the full level . Should they continue teaching? Should they work only under
the tutelage of a full level teacher? Should they be embarassed that they
only have the first part?
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

--
SMiskoe@aol.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13081 · RSCDSSD · 16 Sep 1998 02:37:33 · Top

In a message dated 98-09-14 18:59:09 EDT, Sylvia writes:

> The learners permit for the preliminary certificate is a good analogy but
> there are many people who have, for various reasons, passed this level and
> not
> the full level . Should they continue teaching? Should they work only
> under
> the tutelage of a full level teacher? Should they be embarassed that they
> only have the first part?

RSCDS policy and practice says that those with a preliminary test pass should
teach Branch classes only under the guidance of a certificated teacher. In
reality, lots of folks with prelims (and even without) do teach on their own,
whether in Branch classes or less formal groups. They shouldn't be
embarrassed that they only have the first part.

But within the structure of the RSCDS (if that's where one wants to function)
I get frustrated when the prelim is presumed to be as sufficient a
qualification as the teachers' certificate. Taking your comments to the
extreme - no one would bother to work for a certificate. There is a
difference and I would like it to be more generally understood.

Of course many people have legitimate personal reasons for being unable to
proceed. They can, and should, teach in the interim until circumstances allow
further work. The examples I am concerned about are those who have failed (or
know they would fail) the certificate test and yet continue to function, and
be treated, as teachers because the prelim is seen as a life-time designation.

If they are teaching on their own and have a viable class happy to study under
their guidance - fine. Such arrangements go on all the time without the
imprimatur of the RSCDS. My only concern is when the Society's designation is
misused or misconstrued.

Marjorie McLaughlin
RSCDSSD@aol.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13082 · Chris Collin · 16 Sep 1998 06:53:56 · Top

SMiskoe@aol.com wrote:
>
> The learners permit for the preliminary certificate is a good analogy but
> there are many people who have, for various reasons, passed this level and not
> the full level . Should they continue teaching? Should they work only under
> the tutelage of a full level teacher? Should they be embarassed that they
> only have the first part?
> Cheers,
> Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

It may vary in different places, but I know of several areas where there
is no full certificate teacher (even some with no accredited teacher at
all!). In many others, the prelim makes them a "junior" teacher rather
than a "learner". Still learning, but frequently not under anyone's
direct supervision. One of the finest teachers I know (who just happens
to be in our group!) has only her first certificate. This means that
she will never be asked by another group to run a workshop, but we are
extremely fortunate to have her. I'm sure this situation must occur
elsewhere.

Of course, we should aspire to get the full certificate. Sometimes
though, it is not so easy!

Chris Collin, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada

Teachers exams

Message 13084 · Etienne Ozorak · 16 Sep 1998 17:16:53 · Top

I agree with Chris Collins. Though I've been dancing for about 25
years, I'm in an area where until last year there were no teachers nor
dance groups. I was told by one of Ontario's most respected mentor of
teachers to simply start one and worry about the testing/certificate
issue later (or whenever). Fortunately for me, Bill Baxter moved to
Erie, started a group from scratch which now has 12-20 dancers in its second
year.

Salut,
Etienne

> It may vary in different places, but I know of several areas where there
> is no full certificate teacher (even some with no accredited teacher at
> all!). In many others, the prelim makes them a "junior" teacher rather
> than a "learner". Still learning, but frequently not under anyone's
> direct supervision. One of the finest teachers I know (who just happens
> to be in our group!) has only her first certificate. This means that
> she will never be asked by another group to run a workshop, but we are
> extremely fortunate to have her. I'm sure this situation must occur
> elsewhere.
>
> Of course, we should aspire to get the full certificate. Sometimes
> though, it is not so easy!
>
> Chris Collin, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada
>
>
> --
> Chris Collin <collin@mondenet.com>
>
>

dancing in Michigan

Message 13086 · BEATRIX WEPNER · 16 Sep 1998 19:01:45 · Top

Hello everybody,

I will be in Lansing , Michigan for most of october. Does anybody
know of dance groups in that area?
Thanks a lot

Beatrix

Dipl.Ing. Beatrix Wepner
Inst. f. Lebensmitteltechnologie
Univ. f. Bodenkultur, Wien
Muthg. 18; 1190 Wien
Tel.:0043-1-36006-6608
Fax: 0043-1-36006-6251
email: H8840318@edv1.boku.ac.at

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13085 · Ian Price · 16 Sep 1998 18:39:02 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>first certificate. <

For the last time .... THERE'S NO SUCH THING!!!!!

Please everyone, do not perpetuate the use of this meaningless term. =

Particularly in this thread, it just shows you're not paying attention!

Because everyone's so flippin' nice, it falls to the 2chter to make the
point forcefully. --again!

Regards
-2chter

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13087 · Richard L. Walker · 16 Sep 1998 19:10:08 · Top

Who lets facts get in the way of anything? ha ha
I imagine this was just a reference to the first of a -2step
process.
At least no one is saying "slightly certified" and "totally
certified."

>>first certificate. <
>For the last time .... THERE'S NO SUCH THING!!!!!
>Please everyone, do not perpetuate the use of this meaningless
term.
>Particularly in this thread, it just shows you're not paying
attention!
>Because everyone's so flippin' nice, it falls to the 2chter to
make the
>point forcefully. --again!
>Regards
>-2chter

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13088 · M.J.Norman · 16 Sep 1998 19:17:02 · Top

>Who lets facts get in the way of anything? ha ha
>I imagine this was just a reference to the first of a -2step
>process.
>At least no one is saying "slightly certified" and "totally
>certified."
>

Or, say, totally certifiable!

Monica

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13089 · The_Healys · 16 Sep 1998 20:48:35 · Top

I suppose it's the classical education mucking around with word
order but ever since I got one I have referred to "certified fulls".

Jim Healy
Perth, Scotland

PS An' who you callin' "nice", Price?

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13093 · Peter Hastings · 17 Sep 1998 04:10:35 · Top

On Wed, 16 Sep 1998, Ian Price wrote:

> Because everyone's so flippin' nice, it falls to the 2chter to make the
> point forcefully. --again!

As if it mattered.

Everyone knows what is being referred to.

Peter Hastings
Royal Observatory
Edinburgh
(:

Pat O'Brien

Message 13101 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 17 Sep 1998 17:39:10 · Top

Hello,

Sorry to bother the list with this, but
does anyone have an e-mail address for Pat O'Brien of the Bay Area in
California? Pat, are you out there?

--Lara Friedman-Shedlov

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If a rock falls on an egg
Lara Friedman~Shedlov Too bad, too bad for the egg
laradf@alumni.si.umich.edu If an egg falls on a rock
Too bad for the egg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pat O'Brien

Message 13105 · SusieTLK · 18 Sep 1998 00:38:44 · Top

Pat's email is: wpob@ix.netcom.com

SUSIE
_____________
Susie Langdon Kass
415-333-9372
SusieTLK@aol.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13096 · Wilkie, Irene · 17 Sep 1998 12:38:17 · Top

I'd just like to point out that the RSCDS are not the only
people who award teaches certificates - and not necessarily
the best! The Imperial Society and the UKA also have very
good schemes, and the UKA qualification is in
fact a professional one, whilst the RSCDS is strictly
amateur. Lets not be too parroquial!

Irene Wilkie
On Tue, 15 Sep 1998 16:54:09 -0400 Chris Collin
<collin@mondenet.com> wrote:

> SMiskoe@aol.com wrote:
> >
> > The learners permit for the preliminary certificate is a good analogy but
> > there are many people who have, for various reasons, passed this level and not
> > the full level . Should they continue teaching? Should they work only under
> > the tutelage of a full level teacher? Should they be embarassed that they
> > only have the first part?
> > Cheers,
> > Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
>
> It may vary in different places, but I know of several areas where there
> is no full certificate teacher (even some with no accredited teacher at
> all!). In many others, the prelim makes them a "junior" teacher rather
> than a "learner". Still learning, but frequently not under anyone's
> direct supervision. One of the finest teachers I know (who just happens
> to be in our group!) has only her first certificate. This means that
> she will never be asked by another group to run a workshop, but we are
> extremely fortunate to have her. I'm sure this situation must occur
> elsewhere.
>
> Of course, we should aspire to get the full certificate. Sometimes
> though, it is not so easy!
>
> Chris Collin, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada
>
>
> --
> Chris Collin <collin@mondenet.com>
>

----------------------------------------
Wilkie, Irene
Email: Irene.Wilkie@uwe.ac.uk
"University of the West of England"

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13100 · Tim Harrison · 17 Sep 1998 16:56:12 · Top

Irene,

Not having heard of The Imperial Society or UKA, could you direct me (us?) to information about them. It would be interesting to find out how their requirements differ from those of the RSCDS.

-- Tim Harrison <harrison@acm.org>
-- Austin, Texas

At 8:36 AM -0500 9/17/98, Wilkie, Irene wrote:
>I'd just like to point out that the RSCDS are not the only
>people who award teaches certificates - and not necessarily
>the best! The Imperial Society and the UKA also have very
>good schemes, and the UKA qualification is in
>fact a professional one, whilst the RSCDS is strictly
>amateur. [...]

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13102 · SallenNic · 17 Sep 1998 19:42:07 · Top

Maybe after all the Captains and the Kings have had their say on the subject,
and following on from Irene's bit about the Imperial Society and UkA schemes,
mention should be made of the fact that the EFDSS, after many years of
offering no teaching training or qualifications has recently returned to the
field with a very new approach which is modular in its essence. It is quite
different from the RSCDS' approach - which it has to be, as the EFDSS has to
cover a vastly wider field of traditions than the RSCDS: nevertheless in a few
years' time we shall doubtless begin to see some benefits from it.
Nicolas
Broadbridge, Lanark.

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13104 · S.M.D.Phillips · 17 Sep 1998 20:01:49 · Top

Please would you define the initials. I've heard of the Imperial Society,
but the other two defeat me until I can get to the library
Stella Phillips
-----Original Message-----
From: SallenNic@aol.com <SallenNic@aol.com>
To: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
<strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de>
Date: 17 September 1998 16:44
Subject: Re: Re: Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

>Maybe after all the Captains and the Kings have had their say on the
subject,
>and following on from Irene's bit about the Imperial Society and UkA
schemes,
>mention should be made of the fact that the EFDSS, after many years of
>offering no teaching training or qualifications has recently returned to
the
>field with a very new approach which is modular in its essence. It is quite
>different from the RSCDS' approach - which it has to be, as the EFDSS has
to
>cover a vastly wider field of traditions than the RSCDS: nevertheless in a
few
>years' time we shall doubtless begin to see some benefits from it.
>
Nicolas
>Broadbridge, Lanark.
>
>--
>SallenNic@aol.com
>
>

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13107 · SallenNic · 18 Sep 1998 03:24:08 · Top

Stella Phillips asks for definition of the initials.
UKA escapes me at this moment, but EFDSS is the English Folk Dance and Song
Society, a joining together in 1935 of the Folk Song Society (whose centenary
we are celebrating this year) and the English Folk Dance Society, formed by
Cecil Sharp in 1911, in memorial to whom the headquarters building in London
bearing his name was built....and before anyone jumps in and protests this is
nothing to do with the RSCDS, may I say that the Vaughan Williams Memorial
Library is housed therein - an invaluable resource for all interested in
Country Dance, be it Scottish or English, carrying as it does most of the
C17th / C18th dance publications.
Nicolas Broadbridge, Lanark.

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13118 · Wilkie, Irene · 18 Sep 1998 14:04:25 · Top

UKA = United Kingdom Alliance (of professional teachers of
dance) used to be UKAPTD but has been shortened to UKA for
most purposes.
On Thu, 17 Sep 1998 19:22:31 EDT SallenNic@aol.com wrote:

> Stella Phillips asks for definition of the initials.
> UKA escapes me at this moment, but EFDSS is the English Folk Dance and Song
> Society, a joining together in 1935 of the Folk Song Society (whose centenary
> we are celebrating this year) and the English Folk Dance Society, formed by
> Cecil Sharp in 1911, in memorial to whom the headquarters building in London
> bearing his name was built....and before anyone jumps in and protests this is
> nothing to do with the RSCDS, may I say that the Vaughan Williams Memorial
> Library is housed therein - an invaluable resource for all interested in
> Country Dance, be it Scottish or English, carrying as it does most of the
> C17th / C18th dance publications.
> Nicolas Broadbridge, Lanark.
>
> --
> SallenNic@aol.com
>

----------------------------------------
Wilkie, Irene
Email: Irene.Wilkie@uwe.ac.uk
"University of the West of England"

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13119 · Wilkie, Irene · 18 Sep 1998 14:10:32 · Top

I don't know too mush about the Imperial Society, except
that they offer medal tests and teachers examinations in a
range of different dance forms. The UKA is the United
Kingdom Alliance (of Professional Teachers of Dance) -
formerly known as UKAPTD - and they also operate in
different dance areas including Scottish Country and
Highland. They offer a 3 stage professional examination for
teachers - Associate, Membership, Fellowship, as well as a
series of medal tests which have proved to be very
motivational for the children I teach.
On Thu, 17 Sep 1998 07:54:17 -0500 Tim Harrison
<harrison@acm.org> wrote:

> Irene,
>
> Not having heard of The Imperial Society or UKA, could you direct me (us?) to information about them. It would be interesting to find out how their requirements differ from those of the RSCDS.
>
> -- Tim Harrison <harrison@acm.org>
> -- Austin, Texas
>
> At 8:36 AM -0500 9/17/98, Wilkie, Irene wrote:
> >I'd just like to point out that the RSCDS are not the only
> >people who award teaches certificates - and not necessarily
> >the best! The Imperial Society and the UKA also have very
> >good schemes, and the UKA qualification is in
> >fact a professional one, whilst the RSCDS is strictly
> >amateur. [...]
>
>
>
> --
> Tim Harrison <harrison@acm.org>
>

----------------------------------------
Wilkie, Irene
Email: Irene.Wilkie@uwe.ac.uk
"University of the West of England"

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13126 · John Wood · 18 Sep 1998 18:52:00 · Top

Jennifer_Sawin@pcmailgw.ml.com wrote:

> EFDSS is the English Folk Dance and Song Society, if I've got the
> words right. In the US, there's the equivalent, which is CDSS, the
> Country Dance and Song Society, and I understand Canadians claim
> *theirs* is the real CDSS, Canadian Dance and Song Society.
>
> EFDSS has a home in Cecil Sharp House, which holds lots of English
> country dance and other dance events - be sure to pay a visit if
> you're in London is my advice. The US CDSS sponsors camps and
> workshops and provides a network for English country dance, so-called
> ritual dance (morris, longsword, rapper sword), and American contra
> dance, plus folk singing, shape note singing, etc etc.

Not to mention the renowned dance camp on Cape Cod : Pinewoods!

John
Bedford, NS

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

Message 13134 · ferguson · 19 Sep 1998 00:49:35 · Top

Dear Nicholas,

You posted to Strathspey:
> Date sent: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 11:40:50 EDT
> Subject: Re: Re: Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions

> ..... the EFDSS, after many years of offering no teaching training or
> qualifications has recently returned to the field with a very new
> approach which is modular in its essence. It is quite different from the
> RSCDS' approach - which it has to be, as the EFDSS has to cover a vastly
> wider field of traditions than the RSCDS.

Could I suggest that you post a short description of this "modular" system
on the _Strathspey List_, including both the teacher training and the
examination procedure? That is much more interesting that just knowing
it exists, and could provole some needed rethinking about RSCDS teachers'
exams.

Eric

|Eric T. Ferguson, van Dormaalstraat 15, 5624 KH EINDHOVEN, Netherlands|
|e-mail: e.ferguson@antenna.nl. phone:+31-40-2432878; fax:+31-40-2467036|

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12985 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 4 Sep 1998 02:08:27 · Top

Jim Healy wrote:

> As somebody said at the Strathspey get-together
> in the same first fortnight, the problem with the RSCDS is that it
> is run by people whose ambition in life is to teach six year olds.

Sorry, Jim, but who are these people who run the RSCDS with this ambition?
Is it the members of the GP committee(!), all the members of
all the committees, or the Executive Council? (Grin, grin)

Helen


--
_ _
|_|_ |_| Malcolm & Helen Brown (York UK) - m.brown@netcomuk.co.uk (Tir-Nan-Og)
_ |_|_
|_| _|_| Connecting via NETCOM Internet Ltd
|_|

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 13069 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 13 Sep 1998 22:52:23 · Top

On Wed, 2 Sep 1998, The_Healys wrote:

{snip: an excellent note on the RSCDS exam system}

> As somebody said at the Strathspey get-together
> in the same first fortnight, the problem with the RSCDS is that it
> is run by people whose ambition in life is to teach six year olds.

As a part of my trip through the midlife-crisis years, I obtained a
masters degree in education specializing in Adult Learning. Here's a
story about teaching adults that will hit many of you very hard and have
others of you saying, "Oh, yes, of course."

Malcom Knowles, late Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of
North Carolina, is recognized as the educator who wrote THE BOOK on Adult
Learning. He was noted for starting his class for the term as follows.
The students and he would sit in cirsle so they could all enchange ideas
easily. Then he would put his pile of books by his side on the floor and
just sit there. Finally, one student would say, "What are you going to
teach us?" And he would reply, "What do you want to learn?"

I start my planning for teaching Scottish country dancing by asking
myself, "What do they want to learn?" The first thing I realize is that
each of them wants to learn something different. Then I focus on finding
a common thread, for example, getting ready for a particular social (if
they are the usual social groups of mixed dancing abilities). Can
I make them feel comfortable in their knowledge and ability when they are
dancing at the social? Is there some bit of footwork or phrasing that
will help some of them? Can I lead them through helping each other with a
formation, knowing that teaching or helping others will lead them to know
the figure better. And if there's no social on the books, how about
trying new dances to see if they belong on the next social?

I can just hear you now: "How can they know what they want to learn if
they don't know anything about Scottish dancing?" Why are they there?
Because someone told them it was fun; because someone who matters is
there; because someone said it was good exercise? Who knows. I don't have
one solution that fits all classes, or even one that fits a particular
class every night it meets. (But you as teacher might assume that not
everybody is there to do 32 bars of perfect pas de Basque.) On page 56 of
R D Laing's "Knots" there is an excellent description of this aspect of
teaching.

Some one in a later note said that the preliminary certificate is a
'learners permit.' So is the teachers certificate.

Whoops, my soapbox just caved in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 13071 · Ron.Mackey · 14 Sep 1998 01:46:22 · Top

Hi,
In following this thread I very much like Priscilla's stance on
preparing for the requirements of a class.
---------------------
> the problem with the RSCDS is that it
> is run by people whose ambition in life is to teach six year olds.
----------------------
> I start my planning for teaching Scottish country dancing by asking
> myself, "What do they want to learn?" The first thing I realize is that
> each of them wants to learn something different. .......................
----------------------
> (But you as teacher might assume that not everybody is there to do
>32 bars of perfect pas de Basque.)

One of the problems with being over-enthusiastic about step practise
is the capability of the class, both rhythmically and physically.
I feel they should do just enough to perform the dances they do,
adequately. If any should want to take it further then a lot of
the grind can be done at home (with occasional supervision of course,
a mirror can tell lies ! ) but a difficulty with step practise is in
giving a class of mainly sedentary workers 20 minutes practise in
preparation for, say, twice through The Musik Makars. It is too easy
to overwork a class of mixed ability and age through over-enthusiasm
with the result that bodies protest and go on strike.
At StA this year, by the end of the week in a class of very
experienced dancers I suppose more than 60% were bandaged or
carrying pulls or strains. I would have liked to take a
photograph of a row of bandaged legs but not all have my sense of
humour and I couldn't get it together ! I am sure that most were
echos of previous damage but I am equally sure that a large number
were caused by trying too hard, especially when tired after the night
before followed by a hard mornings work.
Does anyone else think that learning to dance well is the work of
years rather than hours and the best course of training is, like a
starting athlete, little and often?
Great footwork is not learned at one day-school or taught by just
one teacher, it is the gradual training over time and insights from
many sources which produces a good and 'lasting' dancer.
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 13072 · Ian Price · 14 Sep 1998 04:06:45 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
>Some one in a later note said that the preliminary certificate is a
'learners permit.' So is the teachers certificate.

Priscilla Burrage Vermont US


How very astute!

-2chter

--
Ian Price <IanPrice@compuserve.com>

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 13074 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 14 Sep 1998 21:31:26 · Top

Priscilla notes:

>Some one in a later note said that the preliminary certificate is a
>'learners permit.' So is the teachers certificate.

Ohhh yesss! Moreover, when we think we have nothing more to learn, it will
be time to stop teaching.

Just a reminder, though. There is no such thing as a "preliminary
certificate". The RSCDS sends you a note that says you have passed the
"preliminary test". I think from the point-of-view of the certification
process, the analogy to the relationship between driving learner's permit
(which requires a licensed driver in the vehicle) and a driving license is
quite apt. A teacher awarded the Certificate has been deemed competent to
teach, although that teacher undoubtedly has much more to learn about
teaching and dancing. One who has passed the preliminary test has been
deemed a "promising prospect", is expected to spend the next couple of
years developing knowledge and skills sufficient to pass the Certificate
exam, and during that time is expected to be working under the close
supervision of a Certificated teacher. That is my understanding of the
RSCDS's preferred training/testing model.

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 13076 · Norman BETT · 15 Sep 1998 00:53:01 · Top

>> the problem with the RSCDS is that it
>> is run by people whose ambition in life is to teach six year olds.
>----------------------
Well maybe there is a grain of truth in that; but this is the age group we
should be starting with. Would that there were large numbers of six year olds
ready to learn. Then we would rejuvenate an ageing dance population. Thank
goodness for the University Clubs. That's the only place where I encounter
dancing youth these days. Ah but hold on: I'm just off to play for a children's
class.

Norman

Norman Bett
Cambridge UK

Tel: 01223-248988

--
Norman BETT <norbet@clara.net>

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12976 · Ron.Mackey · 4 Sep 1998 00:38:40 · Top

Hi,
In all this analysis is any mention made of "did the candidate make
the class smile?" To me this is the most important attribute of any
teacher, especially of a leisure subject and more especially - dance;
and essentialy in SCD.

Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Teachers exams - thoughts and suggestions (longish)

Message 12984 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 4 Sep 1998 01:56:49 · Top

Richard wrote;

> I thought of another strategy that, although having some good
> qualities, will never happen (at least I hope it doesn't -- for
> obvious reasons). Most candidates are tutored. If tutored
> properly, the final testing should almost be a rubber stamp
> probably seeing 95-100% of the candidates pass. Obviously it
> isn't given the high failure rate.

I know that tutors are supposed to weed out those who they consider
have not reached a satisfactory standard, but remember that most
of the tutors are not examiners. So when someone comes to the classes
most of us are unwilling to judge that on the day they will not
surprise everyone - Adrenalin can do a lot! However we must
remember that "standard of dancing" is of equal importance to
"standard of teaching"; No tutor in 30 hours is going to be able
to have a significant effect on a candidate's standard of dancing,
especially if they have been dancing that way for many years.

> I do feel that there needs to be more of a link between the person
> giving the candidate the test and the candidate's tutor. If that
> bridge is not built, I don't think the exam process will improve.
>

Over the years I have trained many candidates, usually fairly
sucessfully, but it is only in recent years that by going to
courses for tutors that I have managed to get a clearer idea of
what the examiners are looking for, and decided that my approach
needed to change.

But then things have changed in the exam process.
I used to tell my candidates to repeat back to the Examiners what
they had been asked to teach to ensure that they taught the right
thing - nowadays the candidates are given written instructions!

Before I went to the Prelim class I had attended a class taken by an
RSCDS trained teacher - many candidates today do not have that
sort of background, so they need to be taught the correct way of
dancing steps and formations, not just the correct method of teaching.
Similarly because we all went to classes it was not unreasonable to
be asked to teach a formation in our candidate class without any
instruction from the tutor - all we had to do was remember how we
were taught it in class. As I now realise, with many of our
current candidates it would be most unfair, analogous to asking someone
to just climb onto the 12 metre board and attempt a backward somersault
with a half twist!

I strongly suspect that there are many tutors out there who have
not taken these changes on board, and are training candidates in the
same way that they were taught. (That was the system I used!)

By organising tutors courses the Society is trying to build these
bridges between the tutors and the examiners.

Malcolm

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