I AM a very lucky man. I get a LOT of sunshine blown in my direction with a huge amount of positive feedback to events and happenings. I don’t often like to flag up the delightful comments that people leave about our training days and conferences. However, sometimes one springs out from the crowd because of its expressive nature.
Here is a comment made by curriculum advisor Frank Terrell to our course in Monmouthshire yesterday.
“When you organise a course for teachers you know that they can be the most critical of audiences:
“Oh, I wouldn’t have done it that way!” or “So they mean to take me away from my class for that?” When you book Tim for a course the teachers turn into pussycats, just sit back and listen to the purring.
The Monmouthshire teachers who dragged themselves away from their classrooms on a wet Friday had been warned: bring a laptop and a percussion instrument and be prepared for a rollercoaster ride.
Tim never fails to deliver. Karen and I, who had organised the course, began to worry at how quiet everyone was, they didn’t even have any questions. We then realised it was because they were hanging on Tim’s every word trying to absorb his wisdom. That wisdom is delivered through anecdotes that are often funny but poignant. Each one is based firmly in the classroom and his audience never fails to recognise the link with pupils they have taught themselves. The comments of children are the best pricks to pomposity and Tim’s digs at his own disability and recollections of humorous episodes travelling the world or delivering in schools mean that learning and laughter are never far apart.
Tim’s request for delegates to bring a laptop is so they can use the Myst III interactive computer game on the course to find out how he has used it so successfully with children in his own class in Chew Magna Primary School and subsequently all over the world.
If Monmouthshire teachers thought that was all then they had a surprise since Tim’s courses offer so much more: tips on engaging the disengaged, exciting the bored, thrilling the reluctant reader with the joy of reading and filling the unwilling writer with the immediate need to write and at such great length that it is hard to get them to stop
The teachers who were worried that the course was all about using computers soon found that, once the game was loaded, the had to do little beyond move the cursor to unveil a magical world for all learners regardless of their age. When Tim gave us fifteen minutes to produce a mind map of the school subjects and topics covered he had to give us an extension and still it wasn’t enough: all of the curriculum could be covered, all of the Key Skills seemed to fit and many other things beyond.
The percussion instruments came into their own when we had to compose a soundtrack with Mostyn, one of our number, leading the way as the conductor. The result was stunning and we had had no time to rehearse. One of the delegates, an NQT, thought Tim should be compulsory on all ITT courses. We want Tim to come back to Monmouthshire to work with some of our children so that more of our teachers can see this inspiring wizard of the walking stick in action and share the joy we all experienced in learning some of the methods that make Tim the magic man of Myst III.”
Frank Terrell School Improvement Service