Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Training the Trainers: a roaring success!

Helena Crouch (County Recorder for Somerset)
 & Fred Rumsey (Senior Curator at the Natural
History Museum & President of the British
Pteridological Society) consider
what makes an effective trainer
Image: L. Marsh
BSBI's Training the Trainers was held in Shrewsbury earlier this month and it was a roaring success, building on the success of previous years

There was something for everyone who is involved with passing on plant ID skills, from Mark Duffell's presentation on 'Difficult groups for absolute beginners' to Chris Metherell's talk on 'Teaching a difficult plant group to experienced botanists'.  

Mark also demonstrated a snazzy bit of kit which he uses when teaching and which allowed him to show a classroom of students the parts of a flower he was dissecting. 

This triggered a display of synchronised reaching for pencils and jotting down of brand names, as umpteen botanical trainers spotted the exact thing they want to find in their Christmas stockings this year! (Please Santa I'd like one too!)


Listening to Mark Duffell's talk
Image: L. Marsh
Members of the BSBI's Training & Education Committee took their turn and showed us what they can do, but it wasn't all about sitting passively listening to people talking. 

There were various exercises designed to get us all thinking about how we handle feedback, how we prepare for a training session. 

The amazing Sue Townsend (Biodiversity Learning Manager at the Field Studies Council) managed the impossible and made health and safety fun with her six-step programme and the 'spot what could go wrong here' exercise!


TtT participants included BSBI Handbook
author Tim Rich (in the green top) and
Jeremy Ison (on right) who co-ordinates
BSBI's panel of expert referees
Image: L. Marsh
Everyone who attended was given a copy of the latest edition of the 'Training the Botanical Trainers handbook' - 36 pages of helpful tips to ensure a successful training session. 

As the afternoon session approached its close, I'm afraid I lowered the tone rather with a short presentation on mnemonics, some of which involved very bad puns and others were quite rude... 

But nobody seemed too offended so my Powerpoint will soon be available, along with others from the day, on the Training the Trainers webpage. You have been warned!