An entertaining read by Philip Blake (Write On)

Here is an entertaining commentary on the first course TTC delivered since re-opening on 1 July, from presenter Philip Blake.

A clear lack of taste

The first course I’ve taught in three months, and 13 presumably eager students waiting to go. Ten names on the list are female, three male. Not for the first time, I wonder if the public service really employs three times as many women as men. Or if men really need my teachings three times less than women do. Or if I’m over-thinking it. But those proportions are quite common on my writing courses.

At the start of every course I look at the title – Writing Clearly for Government – and I think

  1. Someone will say in the feedback that they expected to learn the secret code of writing for Government (there isn’t one, and even if there was, there shouldn’t be);
  2. I wish it was just called ‘Writing Clearly’, since that’s what it’s all about.

The course turns out to be good fun for me, which is always an encouraging sign. Interesting bunch of people who are not afraid to argue and who don’t mind having their collective leg pulled.

Not surprisingly my rustiness leads me to forget to cover a couple of things, but they’re not very important. One thing I have learned about presenting (apart from Bring Your Own Extension Cord) is that it’s a mistake to try to teach everything you know. It takes a long, long time and it’s boring.

COVID-19 means that we are in a vast room, and also means that I can’t lean over people’s shoulders during the writing exercises and help them directly; but we get around that by putting an extra chair at each table for me, so that I can have a look at each person’s writing at a social distance, or have it read to me without ingesting a hail of aerosols.

They’re all – apparently – COVID-free. My inquiries at the start establish that no-one has recently travelled, or coughed or sneezed or been feverish or lost their sense of smell or taste. Although some of my critics might say that turning up for one of my courses demonstrates a clear lack of taste.