DST - Basic Teaching Skills Course

Herts & Borders Basic Skills Course participants


Jane Rose, Chair of Herts and Borders Branch reports on the Basic Teaching Skills course held earlier this year.

Eight dancers from across the RSCDS Herts and Borders Branch had signed up for a two-day Basic Teaching Skills course in early 2022 and despite a Covid spike in the country, the organisers felt that we could continue as planned.  Our venue was large with many windows, so after testing with Lateral Flow Tests, taking temperatures on arrival and coats to keep us warm, we started.

The course was geared more towards MCing a social class and big events as that met the needs of the group of attendees.  We covered such basics as where to find dance originals and the RSCDS Books, but also cribs and other information on the internet, plus the needs of the group/class and self-evaluation.  But mainly we worked on analysing dances and re-capping which included use of voice, class management and demonstrating.  We were fortunate to have exactly four men and four women on the course, so we all enjoyed dancing a few of the dances to keep us warm and give variety.

On our second day in early February, local musician Ken Martlew came to talk about “Music for MCs” which covered, tempos in Scottish country dancing, approximate timings for programming, original tunes, and working with a musician.  Some of the course participants admitted that they had never known or even thought about these things and all had learnt something new.  

After lunch the class worked through the dances that had been set for analysing for homework and how best to re-cap them.  These were trickier dances than had been set for the first day and the attendees rose to the challenge!  They even discovered some new dances which they intended to take back to their own clubs.

Herts & Borders Branch practising recaps


Later on, how to create a good danceable programme was covered and discussion of “encores” plus self-evaluation which is always worthwhile for any teacher or MC and so which questions to ask oneself, was then discussed.

Finally, we talked about what happens next:- the new Core Training for Instructors is available and we have two members of the Herts Branch who are CTI trainers and the full Teachers Course which is due to be held by serTA with exams in summer 2023.

The eight attendees were awarded their certificates and left feeling reinvigorated and more confident in working with their groups to enjoy better Scottish Country Dancing.

Thanks to the Herts Branch for supporting this course, especially Brian Rose for help setting up, to Ken Martlew for his talk on music and to Jane Rose for tutoring the course.  Lastly thanks to the Jean Milligan Memorial Fund for the award of funds to help with costs.


Find out more about the Basic Teaching Skills course

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