Like many over the last few weeks I've been gripped by ‘Strictly’ fever. As a teacher-trainer, watching the final while preparing for our next Award in Education and Training course, has led me to reflect on what it is that makes a good teacher. Just how has Joanne Clifton got ballroom novice Ore Oduba to the point of dancing a jive to rival the performance of the male professionals in just a few weeks?
Like many, enthused by the Strictly dancers, my partner and I have enrolled for some beginners’ ballroom classes. We first tried a couple of years ago, and after three terms of an evening class still felt we had two left feet. This time, we’ve signed up for a different class with a different teacher and in just 6 weeks we’ve mastered the basics of 5 different dances and, while we’re not exactly Danny Mac and Louise Redknapp, we were confident enough to take to the dance floor at a recent 1940s dance event.
This experience reinforced for me why some basic teacher training is so important if you want to train others. However enthusiastic you are and however skilled you are in your own subject, any natural teaching ability will be greatly enhanced by some basic training in how adults like to learn, what the potential barriers to learning might be, how sessions should be planned and how you can assess that your learners are making progress.
In the case of our new ballroom teacher, he has all these skills in abundance. He can time a one-hour session to perfection and spread his time and attention across a large class of very diverse abilities, putting everyone at ease. As an interested observer as well as a learner in the class, I can see that every individual has made some degree of progress and, very importantly, has been made to feel they are achieving.
So, if you have a subject or skill that you’ve always wanted to share with others, or you’ve been
teaching or training adults at work or in leisure classes for a while but have no formal training in how to organise your teaching, the Level 3 Award in Education and Training is a good start. It’s a short course (over 4 separate one-day sessions) which provides lots of practical guidance and information to give a teacher or trainer confidence. We can’t guarantee you’ll improve your dancing skills by the end of it but it will introduce you to some new ideas – and you’ll get a nationally recognised qualification from it.
For further information and our next course dates in January visit