Teachers’ Association Conference report by TAS from Perth 2010

TAS presentation by Janet Johnston & Sue Porter to Teachers’ Associations Conference Perth 2010


Teachers’ Association Scotland ~ TAS

(Affiliated to the RSCDS)

What prompted the formation of TAS?

Several SCD teachers in Scotland felt that once you attained your RSCDS Certificate, that there was no recognised ongoing backup support. This was especially so in less populated SC dance areas, where you may be the only teacher for miles.

How did we go about forming TAS?
2004 a paper was presented to the RSCDS Management Board. Jimmie Hill suggested that an association be formed to support qualified Scottish country dance teachers, just as there are ones in other areas of teaching. Unfortunately this was not progressed by MB.
2005 A meeting was held during the RSCDS AGM weekend in Perth to gage interest. Following this meeting, Peter Clark took on the task to organise the first meeting, becoming our first secretary ~ treasurer~ newsletter editor~ forum co-ordinator and generally kept us all on the right track.
25th March 2006 Workshop to gage interest. Johan MacLean was invited to lead a workshop in Edinburgh for SCD teachers. When Johan had to withdraw through illness, Elma McCausland stepped in to give a session on Miss Cahoon’s Reel and how it lent itself to a series of teaching issues. The purpose of this workshop was to find out if those attending were willing to support the formation of a teaching association for Scotland. The enthusiasm was such that there was a waiting list for the workshop, with 48 attending from throughout Scotland.
9th Sept. 2006 Inaugural meeting held in Edinburgh saw the formation of TAS. Membership is open to teachers and those leading S.C. dance groups providing they are members of the RSCDS.
Reasons for forming TAS
TAS provides SCD teachers with continued professional development opportunities by ~
1) Arranging practical workshops where members can dance in a class of dancers of similar ability, free from the mixed ability class situation many find themselves in locally.
2)Discussion opportunities with peers and others. As well as the more ’formal’ discussions , informal ones happen over a cup of coffee while chatting to like minded dancers.
3)Provide information sharing through newsletters
4)Provide support to future teachers in training eg Unit 1 and Unit 4 mentoring
1)Committee currently comprise chairman, secretary, treasurer, workshop organiser and three ordinary members.
Communication is mainly by email with occasional face to face meetings.
2)Newsletter editor. Members are encouraged to contribute articles.
3)Membership fee of £5 per year to cover insurance, newsletter, postage etc. While maintaining 1 year’s running costs, any surplus build up of funds to be used in the future to further the teaching of SCD. Current membership is 129 including 4 from England, 2 Canada, 3 Netherlands, 1 Germany, 1 South Africa
4)Workshops are costed to break even. Topics selected come from suggestions from the members.
Approximately 45 ~ 60 attend workshops
Annual Activities
Two meetings a year ~First Saturday in September is the AGM plus workshop held in the central belt of Scotland ( so far Edinburgh, Lenzie, Broxburn )and third Saturday in April outwith central belt (so far Perth, Pitlochry). Meetings involve practical and / or discussion sessions. Depending on the size and availability of rooms, attendees are split into two groups alternating between practical and discussion sessions. Mostly we utilise the experience within our group to lead workshops but also bring in others with particular expertise.

Topics covered in workshops

Practical dance covering~
Dances for young dancers
Technique by stealth
Transitions in the dance
Hands on approach to teaching hands & handing
Dances for 3 or 5 couple sets suitable for beginners or the less mobile
Fun / party dances
Interpreting dances from early RSCDS publications
Dances from Branch publications
Selection of The MacNab dances
RSCDS Leaflet for 2008
RSCDS Leaflet for 2009 Discussion sessions~

Teaching beginners within a general class
Helping those with poor rhythm
How do you teach / do this?
Retaining young dancers
Child Protection issues
RSCDS Medal Test scheme
What makes a good programme?
How to give good recaps
Guidance for the MC
The role of the mentoring for Unit 4
Modern developments in recorded music for SCD
Supporting non competitive festivals

Issued after each meeting and in between times. TAS related items including~

1) Workshops ~ format for the next one , report on the last one 2) AGM agenda notice, minutes 3)Dance instructions for non RSCDS dances taught at workshops
Other items ~1) Changes to RSCDS SCD Manual 2) Erratums on publications 3)New publications from RSCDS, Branches and other sources covering dances and music 4)Events diary for day or weekend schools, courses 5)Fun items such as quizzes
1)What makes a good S.C. dance programme 2)Modern developments in recorded music 3)The role of the MC 4)Guidance on providing good recaps at a dance

This started after the session on dances from the early RSCDS books in 2007. Approximately a dozen members communicating via electronic forum looked at each dance and the variations in the instructions according to the book edition.
Clarification notes compiled on‘ grey’ , ambiguous areas, which could be helpful, especially to less experienced teachers.
These notes represented the personal views and interpretations of the forum members. These notes were made available to all TAS members who requested them. The forum covered books 1-10 and Miscellany books then the Society produced compilation of books 1- 6, 7-12 and revised MMM with most of the areas we discussed being clarified in the revised editions.
At this point we stopped the discussion as it would have been a duplication of work.
The Future
Wish to continue existing and expand the areas of support to our members, taking guidance from their needs to develop within the teaching field. Maintain a welcoming resource and ear to new dancers, who are about to embark on teaching / leading groups. Work along with Education & Training committee to spread this sociable, fun, pastime.

Contact details for new members

TAS Treasurer~

Mrs Sue Porter, Schiehallion, Grianach Gardens, Oban PA34 4LB
Tel 01631 563103 email sue.porter3@btopenworld.com