Just one post during last month, sigh! I had some good reasons though, as June 2019 has likely been for me the most busy month in my entire life.
A quick update on what I did and what I am doing.
At the wine school this semester I am now teaching three courses:
- the WSET Level 2 in Wines and Spirits, nine lessons two hours each (basically once every two weeks). This is the second time I have this course and also the last: from August the curriculum is going to change and next semester the Spirits part will be dropped. The new WSET Level 2 in Wines will have some corrections and fine tuning and an approach more consistent with the Level 3 in Wines. I look forward to it.
- the WSET Level 3 in Wines, sixteen lessons two hours each (basically once a week). It is the first time I teach this course and quite a big challenge: not only this is a long course with lots of concept to convey, but the ideal style of teaching is an interactive one with frequent learning checks and discussions. I am still polishing my style of teaching for this one, but I feel I am getting better week after week.
- the Italian Wine Scholar Unit 1, a very in depth course only on Italian wines. Unit 1 is nine lessons, two hours each only on north Italy, Unit 2 (next semester) will be focused on central and south Italy. I call this course “my little baby” because I personally introduced this programme to my school (the first in Japan) and I looked after the entire process: I contacted the Wine Scholar Guild, I got approved as a teacher, I made my own session plan, I chose the wines and now I am delivering it. There is a lot to learn here as well.
I have been pretty busy with these three courses, especially because for a period I have been teaching two classes at Level 2.
This is standard though. What really made the difference in June was the week between 6/18 and 6/21, when I sat the WSET Educator Training Programme! Two tutors came from London for an intense course on teaching technique, theory and practice, which I followed together with 5 other educators of the school!
What knowledge should the students possess when they come to the lesson? What should we ask them? How should the educator deliver new pieces of information? How should he or she check that the students are in fact learning? All of this has been explained and we have all been examined through a theory and tasting session simulation.
Very challenging four days, but also an eye opening experience: I am pretty sure that my students, especially on Level 3, noticed some changes in my style of teaching after that week!
Then, the final boss on 29-30 June. The school entrusted me with the teaching of the WSET Level 4 Diploma Tutorial, the two days that you get when you start the Diploma programme (especially if you do it online or by yourself, the only options at present in Japan).
This has been a HUGE challenge: explaining all the program, tasting all the wines, calibrating candidate’s palate, managing group works, giving advices on the exam, outlining the differences between the new and old Diploma. Very rewarding experience. There are lots of adjustments that I want to do and wines that I want to change for it, but that will be for the next year and the next tutorial, when I will have much more time to prepare it!
Next months will be a bit less busy, with the usual course teaching, but also the preparations for the new Level 2 in Wines and the new Diploma in Wines Programme. More time for blog posts, finally!