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Thread: Agm/egm 2014

  1. #11
    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    the emphasis should be on practical skills rather than theory.
    I for one entirely agree with you Jon. I have tried several times at committee meetings to get Belfast to set up their own beginners beekeeping course. FG was all ready to go ahead and do this at Cultra before he gave up with the club due to obstacles from FIBKA supporters and our friends in greenmount. Basically, it is already being done by yourself and alan at minnowburn on the beginners night, this could be structured into a course with certificate at the end, I'm sure it would be very popular and far more meaningful than the prelim course currently running

  2. #12
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    I have been tasked with delivering a Basic Beemaster Course this year which is going quite well. We have 17 participants on the course. The course is split into 6 sessions with a practical weekend at the end of the course. The Basic Beemaster is designed for beekeepers who have kept bees for a few years so should be familiar with opening hives and looking inside. Instead of delivering all the sessions I recruited a number of older and experienced beekeepers. One of the things I noticed is the variety and quality of the delivery of the course. So at the AGM I suggested that the Education Committee look at something like a training for trainers course. It was pointed out that this had been done but very few people had taken up the offer, but if you look at the cost you can see why. It may be possible to run a simpler course based on the instructions in the course in a case on delivery and learning outcomes for the trainers.
    The second suggestion would be for the SBA to produce a list of people who would be willing to travel to other associations to help deliver a session on a course ie people who have attended a trainers course. The list could be put in the Secretary handbook similar to the list of speakers willing to travel to associations

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    The second suggestion would be for the SBA to produce a list of people who would be willing to travel to other associations to help deliver a session on a course ie people who have attended a trainers course. The list could be put in the Secretary handbook similar to the list of speakers willing to travel to associations
    Good suggestion Jimbo. Maybe Gavin would take it to the committee?

  4. #14
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    It is a tricky issue though Jim as those who volunteer will not necessarily be the ones you would want beginners to get advice from.

    this could be structured into a course with certificate at the end, I'm sure it would be very popular and far more meaningful than the prelim course currently running
    Phil
    That could well be what develops, but those running it would need to be paid for their time as it would be a lot of work organising a course and supervising it.
    Practical beekeeping needs to be run by good bee handlers and those who can teach the skills as opposed to people who hold the intermediate certificate or whatever.
    There are people who hold the FIBKA intermediate cert who have had little or no exposure to bees or none at all in a few cases I know of.
    Locally a load of people failed the exam last year so maybe the bar has been raised.
    Even so, there is still next to no practical element in it so I would say the exam is asking the wrong questions of those taking it.

  5. #15

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    It's been 4 years since my prelim and I was told at the end of it to go straight to intermediate. But hands on is more important at this stage! Watching other beekeepers and listening to the advice of knowledgable practitioners is by far more important than exams, well at least the exams in the current system.

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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Ruary will likely read this and shoot me down but I have been really surprised at the lack of practical skills in people who have passed the exams. That's not the fault of the new beekeepers. They do what is asked of them but they are just not taught or asked to demonstrate a lot of practical stuff. (Microscopy excepted!)
    .
    No, Jon, I won't shoot you down, I am equally appalled at the concentration on pure theory. I have argued that the Senior cycle of the Irish exams should be one part in a year with the microscopy section last.
    There have been arguments in Congress that changed the exam dates so that they would be taken as soon a possible after the various courses ended so that the candidates would still have the facts clearly in their memories I call that learning by rote.
    The microscopy exam became more theoretical after I became one of the examiners, and I am proud of that achievement.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Phew! At least we wont fall out then.
    Same as Gavin, I have never bothered much with the exam system as I cannot see much relevance to improving my beekeeping.
    A few years ago I was interested in joining a senior study group but was told I would have to take preliminary and intermediate before I would be eligible so I was put off.
    Times have changed since the arrival of google and knowing how to access the information you want is often more important than memorising facts.
    The exams for me are like a timewarp back to GCSE biology in the 1970s where you had to memorise and draw diagrams of cells or alveolii or nephrons!

    I think that the exams are totally devalued when you have beekeepers qualified at a senior level who cannot do basic practical beekeeping.
    What is absent in many cases is the ability to read the colony - a topic covered by Dan Basterfield at Greenmount recently.

  8. #18

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    Hi all having passed the basic exam last year, and am starting the intermediate this weekend, I found all the practical side very straight forward as I was only doing what I did every week, it was more the bee diseases and treatments I found a tricky, but I would say there are probably one of the most important things to know, is what to look for, when you never seen it before, as it effects not just you but your surrounding beekeeper, so theory has to be a big part of the exam, not that am any good at it as I work with my hands for living and I don't find studying very easy at all, but it does keep me out of the pub


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  9. #19

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    I don't think there is really all that much that can be done to stop someone from setting up their own association or venture and accessing public funds whether their intentions are honourable, misguided or nefarious. This does present problems in terms of beekeeping in general and our image/relationship with those around us. I know of at least one case where someone with extremely limited experience is offering beginners classes. Perhaps the structure of the sba, it's relationship with and nature of local associations could evolve to counter this? Maybe the sba could look into applications from New associations in closer detail? The other thing that strikes me is there doesn't seem to be any effort to collate records of stock numbers at local or national level.

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  10. #20
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    Hi snimmo. We do collect various bits of information from the members in our association like how many colonies do you have going into winter, how many colonies do you have in spring, what varroa treatments did you use, what was your honey crop etc. We have done this for a number of years and it makes quite interesting reading, example we experienced a 13% colony loss last year in our association but this year we are expecting a smaller percent. The honey crop last year averaged 30lbs per colony but the year before was a lot less etc. If all the SBA associations were asked to collect similar information and it was collated by the SBA it would give a better picture of the state of colonies in Scotland. I do know that the SBA do ask for various bits of information but apeal to the individual members to submit the information and not to the associations who may contain more accurate information.

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