Our final task of the opening weekend of the PGCert was to write down one word that summed up our feelings about starting the first module “Approaches to Critical Artistry” and the conference we had attended. After some quiet deliberation the one word, an analogy really,  that had stayed with me through both days was basecamp. During a presentation by one of the MA Learning and teaching (Gaelic Arts) students, she used the analogy of feeling like she was at the bottom of Everest at the beginning of her learning journey. Looking up at an insurmountable beast that would dominate her life for the next couple of years.


It really struck a chord with me, and why did it stick with me?

  • I’m at the beginning of a new journey
  • the challenge of the next 10 weeks (and 18months) is looming over me
  • the weekend itself was a gathering and sharing of ideas,
  • it was a collection of practitioners at the start of their journey
  • we were all starting together from the same point although our paths will vary

What does basecamp actually mean? The definition is:

a main encampment providing supplies, shelter, and communications for persons engaged in wide-ranging activities, as exploring, reconnaissance, hunting, or mountain climbing”

How does this apply to my experience as someone at the beginning of their learning journey? The main encampment would be the Royal Conservatoire, a place that provides the context for my learning and the resources for my journey. Wide ranging activities presents itself as advice to broaden my view beyond that of my field and indeed beyond that of an education context. Exploring and reconnaissance are what practioners in my field do every day! We explore the how to achieve the correct scenic finish  through trial and error, learning from our mistakes. I will be exploring how my proposal will improve the learners experience in the RCS and beyond, learning from what engages the students, how they learn. Reconnaissance or research will help me shape my argument. And hunting? Well I was a huge fan of the Running Man film as a child although probably not applicable at the RCS.

I’m going to run with the analogy further and break down the PGCert course as a whole into something I can visualise (rather like Jamie’s fruit but a little more… rugged and mountainous)


If module 1 is 10 Credits (100 hours of study) then it would have to fit Ben Lomond:

At 974m tall  its the most southerly of the Munros. Its very close by and requires planning, some training, and careful execution to scale its summit.

Module 2 is 20 credits (200 hours of study) and will be Ben Nevis:

Tallest summit in the British Isles it sits at a majestic 1,334m tall. It requires a bit more training, extra planning and you may have to stray from the well trodden path to make the experience more worthwhile. Most importantly Ben Nevis is visible from the summit of Ben Lomond so as you scale the heights of one module another comes sharply into focus.

 Module 3 is 30 credits (300 hours of study) and is Mount Fuji:    

Standing at 3,776m and like module 3 is so far away its on another continent. But each summit feeds into another and each challenge completed will alter the process that comes after.

Mapping The Route Ahead


As I start out on this journey I’m reminded of a well worn phrase from my time as a boy scout:

Be Prepared

I need to gather my resources and plan my route. With that in mind I need to make myself I good old fashioned timetable. With the module running from the Week beginning the 5/10/15 until the hand-in on the 11/12/15. That’s around 10 weeks for 10 credits or 100 hours study.

100 hours ÷ 10 weeks = 10 hours per week

I must admit looking at such a large figure of 100 hours on the module briefing did panic me, where would I find the hours? But breaking it down into a manageable timetable, into achievable goals that I can aim to complete each week. This is obviously a schedule in its most basic form and I’ll need to break down each study day into its own category. For now it’s a good start, a place to set off from. One step at a time.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s