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WTG Class of 2014-15
Naomi Briggs – I found the structure of the course and the way it was delivered to be challenging, interesting and very novel. I suppose that I expected to be given lists of information to learn and for the course to have a simplistic approach in terms of delivery of lectures on specific subjects. Instead I found it was a complex weaving of ideas and concepts mixed with skills development and it provided a backdrop against which my own knowledge could be built up. I particularly liked the brainstorming and sharing of ideas which were encouraged and also the very individualistic way in which students were allowed to learn and develop, as well as the opportunity to reflect on my own performance as a tool for improvement. I thoroughly appreciated an individualistic style of tutoring in a world where things have seemed to become rather bland. We were also given many opportunities to meet past students and learn from the guiding styles of a large number of working guides – this enabled me to think about what kind of guide I aspire to be and opened my eyes to different working opportunities. I found the preparation for the early walkshops and the first practical exam to be very hard work and nerve-wracking, but this paid dividends – I learned how to structure and deliver commentary and to be at ease whilst doing so. Since qualifying I have been able to immediately put these skills into use in paid work – not only in guiding groups but also in related tourism activities.
Mary Chard – This is an excellent guiding course for both those with and those without prior guiding experience. I had done a City of London guiding course before this and found that the Westminster course both complemented this and substantially extended my guiding skills. The course is hard work but is so worthwhile because of its stimulating, varied and imaginative approach to guide training. I particularly liked the emphasis on critical feedback and reflection in regard to performance and the opportunity from the outset to practise and experiment with different guiding styles in a safe environment. The experience of gallery guiding in the National Portrait Gallery was also a welcome inclusion. The Thursday evening classes were an entertainment in themselves and provided good opportunities to get to know your fellow guides (past and present). Caroline and Catherine work hard at supporting individuals to achieve a polished and professional approach to being a guide in one’s chosen style. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in becoming a London guide or to existing guides wanting to improve their practice.
Linda Hamer – This is a fantastic course that delivers an enormous amount of learning and creates an insatiable desire to learn, so subtly that it is the end of the course before you realise that it has taken over every spare minute of your time! This was my first guiding course and, to be honest, it has been quite some time since I was in the classroom, but Caroline and Catherine were so positive and supportive that I always had the belief I would succeed. It was enjoyable, informative and fun and provided great personal development in the skills of guiding, but probably the most enduring quality is that it stimulates an enquiring mind and a desire to keep learning after the final exams!
Rosalind Pearson – This is a really interesting and informative course with a great combination of theory and practical guiding. It was challenging and inspiring. I feel confident and enthusiastic about my future as a walking tour guide now.
Sandy Warr – Guiding was a totally new world to me, but a friend had been bending my ear for months about how much fun he was having taking people on tours in Manchester and so I thought I would give it a try. I am very used to presenting into a microphone but it was an unexpected challenge to be able to see the whites of my audience’s eyes! The walkshop formula that Caroline has invented is a wonderfully supportive way of helping you find your feet and learn from other people. I have learned how to research and construct an interesting walk, gained the confidence to lead people through the challenging streets of London, and above all I have had a thoroughly enjoyable year. I am already branching out in my career now with walks booked up in the coming year – and several more under development.
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