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Re: Bikeability and handlebars

Posted: 5 Sep 2018, 8:58am
by Si
I think that it must vary depending on location and company. Traditionslly for the place i work at the bulk of instructors have been experienced cyclists who take up bikeability when they reach semi retirement and can afford to "give something back". Most are very experienced with spannering bikes. And in terms of teaching we have exteachers, people who are also experienced coaching other sports, etc.

More recently our scheme has recieved a massive increase in funding and with that a massive increase in the number of children to be trained. This has led to recruiting new instructors from community cycling clubs. Its been very mixed in terms of instructors' abilities.....many know very little about spannering, and one or two havent actually been that great at riding :-( on the other hand some have been brilliant, both good at instructing and good at relating to kids from inner city deprived ethnic communities.....dont know about elsewhere but bikeability here has traditionally erred towards the middle class, middle aged+, white, male instructor.

Re: Bikeability and handlebars

Posted: 5 Sep 2018, 9:59am
by thirdcrank
Si wrote: ... wouod you expect your driving instructor to be able to service your car?

I don't think that's a good analogy. First, the driving test now includes a small amount of basic "servicing" knowledge. More to the point, you wouldn't want a driving instructor giving a pupil poor advice on something like changing a wheel whether it was included in the test syllabus or not.

Re: Bikeability and handlebars

Posted: 5 Sep 2018, 10:18am
by pjclinch
pedals2slowly wrote:Sadly there are a high proportion of Bikeability Instructors who ONLY know about teaching Bikeability.
They are usually well intentioned but often lack the basic 'cyclist' skills and knowledge that make for better instructors.
Children ask lots of non-Bikeability cycling questions and I've heard some ridiculous answers.
The quality of instruction varies from 'ex-Sargent major' barking commands and making it a miserable experience for children, to the super softy 'do-gooder' who has no skills in managing excitable children and has rings run around them. to the instructor who just doesn't understand what praise or positive reinforcement is.
IMHO the review of National Standards would be better focused on looking at training instructors to teach/manage/coach/train rather than tinker with the technicality of what to teach.

The training of staff is a different issue to what they'll be teaching. In Scotland training trainers is part of Cycling Scotland's remit and they have a pretty good syllabus backed by a QA process to address the issues you raise above. You don't get to be a trainer by turning up, you get to be one by passing the course, and this includes being able to teach (and "those who can't do, teach" doesn't cut the mustard, you've got to be able to, errr, cycle the cycle as well as talk the talk). Different learning models, teaching methods etc. are all covered: Ex Sergeant Major will only get the qualification if they can demonstrate they can do a good job.

That's Scotland... I can't make claims for anywhere else as I haven't been part of their system.

pedals2slowly wrote:Having said that you have got to bear in mind that most Bikeability Instructors are basically volunteers - zero hours contracts and minimum wages don't make for recruiting quality people!!

Indeed. The scheme currently relies on the same general proviso of the wider do-gooder sector, which is there are enthusiastic people willing to work for a pittance (in Scotland a lot of delivery is doing by people volunteering their time for free, it's not really working out and Cycling Scotland are looking to change to a paid model but you can only pay the money you have).