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Oct 8 2011, 07:58 PM
Joined: 29-September 09
Member No.: 76503
I was due to do my Dip a while back and then a lot of other things took over, not least learning to play pretty much all over again after a serious illness. So now I am back on track, but the thing that stumps me about the Dip is that you have to be able to discuss all grades up to and including Grade 6. I have no pupils in that area, I can research the theory and talk about what I would probably do in a given situation, but I can't fall back on genuine, practical experience of anything at grade 6... or even in the vague region of grade 6! My bread and butter is the pre-Grade 1 candidate, picking up the instrument for the first time, learning to recognise notation, technical foundation, musical skills and all that. For many school-based primary aged pupils that can be a considerable period. I never go over Grade 3, not in my wildest dreams. I'm doing equal opportunities provision, if the kids show any real promise they are taken over by other schemes that get them more consistent individual funding.
I would like to feel like I could underpin my sense of self with a qualification, but it doesn't seem to match with what I am doing. Does anyone else have that kind of experience? What did you do with the viva if you weren't teaching any pupils in a particular stage of development? Maybe you had never taken a beginner, never taught a child, never taught an adult... were you missing anything that you felt it was thus difficult to comment on, and if so how did you handle that?
CTABRSM is a level of expense I can't even get involved with, it used to be far more geared around the type of teaching you actually do. Should have taken it when I first saw it and it suited me, it's grown arms and legs as the years have gone by and it's developed.
Oct 8 2011, 09:19 PM
Joined: 18-July 10
From: Bucks is in the distance...
Member No.: 114670
I have no pupils in that area, I can research the theory and talk about what I would probably do in a given situation, but I can't fall back on genuine, practical experience of anything at grade 6... or even in the vague region of grade 6!
In theory, I don't think that matters, as for the DipABRSM, you are not 'expected' to have any pupils yet. When I sat and passed the diploma a couple of years ago, I'd been teaching for eight years, but had had very few pupils at the higher grades, so whilst I was able to draw on experience, it was, by no means, across the full range of levels. What would be good is perhaps to chat with teachers who have taught the higher grades; it would give you a general overview of the different challenges which might present themselves at the higher levels. They might be willing for you to sit in on some lessons, and possibly to look at the progress of some pupils a bit more closely - it would give you an opportunity to experience a bit of higher grade teaching and to perhaps think about how you might respond to particular needs at that level.
Oct 9 2011, 01:47 PM
Joined: 1-January 04
Member No.: 337
To take the teachers Dip you do not have to have actual teaching experience. One of the questions that come up early on in the Viva is something like "Tell us about your teaching experience to date..." this allows the candidate to explain their personal situation. However in my experience it is the lack of knowledge of teaching strategies at the higher level that tends to let candidates down. I agree with Seer Green's advice. If you can arrange to sit in on some more advanced teaching - I would say it doesn't even have to be your instrument - this will certainly benefit you. It also means that you can explain to the examiners that although you don't actually have first-hand experience as yet, you are aware of the issues involved. I think one of the things that "annoys" the examiners in when a candidate doesn't realise a gap in their knowledge. It is important to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses but also to show evidence of what you are doing about it. Also don't forget that you have been a grade 6 pupil yourself. Re the grade 5/6 stage try and have a think about what skills a pupil of your instrument needs to have mastered by this stage. What more is needed for even more advanced playing? You will need to demonstrate that you are aware of all the issues involved and of the good studies and repetoire out there.
Don't feel at all apologetic about what you are doing. In my opinion teaching beginners is one of the most difficult and onerous tasks.
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