The magic of our July-August teacher training courses
Mario Rinvolucri, Pilgrims, UK
Why are these courses that are starting as you read these lines so magic, and why do we get so many people coming back for a second, third etc course? (Our Olympic champion is on his 12th course this year!)
When you look at the structure of this "magic" it certainly has many of these elements:
1. An escape from home and school routine. Many of our participants are women and they are quietly thrilled to be doing something just for them , forget him and the kids!
2. A chance to make new friends from around Europe and, to some extent, from around the world.
3. A " free" kind of holiday….. Few of our participants feel they have had to empty the family's piggybank to come to Canterbury. 75% of our trainees are financed by their local government or by EU, Brussels funds.
4. Happy regression: here they are on a hilltop University campus overlooking the orchards of Kent. For some it feels like back to days when we were all in our early twenties!
5. The extraordinary beauty of the campus, with its lawns and woods and tame rabbits and curious bright-eyed squirrels.
6. The psychological security of the 4.5 hour core-course day, led by a trainer who becomes the group's anchor person, alongside the freedom to escape the core group and to choose from 6-8 workshops, lectures, music sessions etc from 4.00 pm to 9.30 pm. The optional programme after 4.00pm almost doubles the amount that a given participant can learn over a typical fortnight.
7. The attitudes of the trainers to their participants. An attitude of wonder, of wishing to learn, and a deep desire to really get to know people for real, as they are.
These tutor attitudes have a magic effect on the groups they work with.
8. The fact that the tutors belong to a fur-flung network , and not to a team. They have not been boring each other silly over the past 10 months. Instead, they have flown into from around the world to create the Pilgrims summer. Many of them are friends
and they want to hug each other.
How many "normal" staffrooms are like this?
Trainees hugely befit from these inter-trainer relationships.
Yes, the aim of this short piece is to make you feel you wish you were going to be on our Canterbury Hilltop this summer . If you are not, THINK ABOUT IT FOR 2006 or 2007!!! I am sure 2006 will be yet better than 2005 which will be better than 2004 was.
Please check the Teachers Training course at Pilgrims website.