Cornwall, Day 3: Redruth School

| February 27, 2009 | 0 Comments 

Our last day in this session in Cornwall, and what a true delight!

The students from Year 7, at Redruth school, really did pull out all the stops. We spent a whole day creating a glorious mix of the analogue and digital magic.

gadwin-shottie-017As the day was so full, we are grateful to Jay Coleman, for offering to write his thoughts on the events that unfolded.

And, what an expressive commentary it is.  Thank you.

“First period Friday morning and, on behalf of the school, I am filming Tim Rylands’ visit to Redruth.

This is Tim’s third day “in residence” here in Cornwall, but the first time that I have been able to see him.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable experience…

“Just take a few short clips” was the remit but, in all honesty, Tim is such an infectiously enthusiastic character that he is hard not to film.  Within half an hour I am already starting to worry about the battery and the tape.  Surely we need more cameras, more equipment – more students, even – in order to take full advantage of all the nuggets of learning that seem to effortlessly exude from the man.

Eventually I have to put the camera down.  I want to see this for myself, to be a part of it.  It is simply too good to miss.

Having embarked upon a PGCE, my mind feels as if it has spent a lot of time recently running along dry, academic lines.  It is sometimes easy to allow your considerations to become staid and formulaic.  What is the theory behind this aspect of education, what literature is available for this part?  How can I mechanically engage children’s interest in writing?

The answer is, of course, that you can’t.  You will never mechanically transmit an enthusiasm for English into your students; it just won’t work.  Enthusiasm shall always a tool that a teacher needs, and Tim has lots of it – and he is willing to share.

He does a lot in a short space of time; you have to keep track.  His walking stick sidekick, Mr. Walker, is also kept busy.  Not since Chesterton has a cane done so much for the appreciation of English language.  Tim’s style of engagement quickly manages to bring those dry, academic considerations back down to earth.  “Back down to the soft, crunchy, apple crumble earth,” he might say.

Because, Tim’s techniques involve getting the children to give vent to their senses.

The computer generated world displayed to the class is just a starting point.  Metaphors and similes are effortlessly explained, and made memorable by his entertaining delivery.  Within a short space of time the children are won over, and are soon venturing off to explore and describe their own wonderful worlds.

It would be dismissive to say that Tim is a performer, however.  It may not even be quite right to say that he is a facilitator.  He is more like an equal member of a community; a community to which we are all invited and have a valuable role to play.

We discuss the concept of performance, and I explain how, as a student teacher, it is sometimes hard to allow that academic side of you to take a backseat.  Tim explains that some of the best praise that he ever received was from a teacher in a management position who said: “You have given my NQTs permission to be themselves.”

Meaning, of course, that Tim had helped them to realise that it is not just a “Tim Rylands’ performance™” that school staff can learn from and use.  Just like the pupils, the staff form their own part of it, too.  It is simultaneously an individual and a group performance.

So, be yourself and be part of the community.
You have Tim’s permission, now you only need to seek your own…”

Jay Coleman
Exeter PGCE English/Media

Thank you, Jay, and Go For It too, budd. Good luck… and well done all.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

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