Thursday 17 March 2011

How to ride on a bus

Apparently BBC employees are being offered a day's course on how to ride the buses in Manchester. Isn't that a great idea? I have been on many courses in my time, and I can tell you exactly the kind of thing they'll be up to.

1. "Breaking the ice". This may involve a game. For example, John Humprheys throws a ball to Jeremy Paxman shouting "Jeremy!", and Jeremy throws the ball to Eddy Grundy shouting "Eddy!" etc. etc. until we all know who everyone is.

2. Brainstorming, with a large flipchart and someone important wielding a felt marker writing down words like "bus stop" and "timetable".

3. Map-reading (this is a guess; I have never been on a course where maps were involved, but then I have never tried to navigage my way round Manchester).

4. Dividing into small groups. This is an absolute must on any course. The small groups discuss things (routes around Manchester; how to hail a bus; that kind of thing), and then re-form in the larger group to share their findings. There will be a huge sheet of paper and another felt marker for each group.

5. Conclusion. Have we enjoyed ourselves? What have we learnt? Followed by the handing out of sheets of paper for Feedback (score each part of the course from no.1 = useless, to no 5 = wonderful).

6. I guess this is optional, but they may just get to have a ride in a real bus.

There will be tea/coffee and biscuits throughout the day, but as a licence-payer, I do hope they are providing their own sandwiches.


  1. The only question I can think of is....why?

    Oh I do hate going on courses for work. But Frances you have omitted the worst torture of all - role play! I refuse to go on any course involving role play.

  2. Oh, role play! How coudl I have forgotten role play? You are quite right, Joanne. Actually, I quite like role play. When I was training as a Relate cousellor there was a lot of role play, and we had a great time inventing bizarre sex problems and having fake rows.

    Oh, happy days...

  3. And for a follow-up we will all be interviewed in three months' time about the lasting damage the experience has done.

  4. This is just not fair! I have been on many courses - but never, ever, ever, one that deals with the trauma of riding on public transport!

    I use buses almost daily and have had to learn all about boarding and alighting, purchasing my fare, coping with the diverse moods of the drivers, etc, etc, without any form of instuction whatsoever!

    If only I worked for the BBC....

  5. Aaargh!! I'm having flashbacks now.

  6. Hi, Friko - something else I forgot!

    Hypercritifal - it sounds as though you need a course to help you come to terms with not going on a course etc etc....

    Sorry, Patsy. I think it's happened to us all!

  7. Frances, this absolutely correct analysis brought back memories of so much tedium on mandatory NHS training courses. Almost invariably, when it came to the feedback, I wanted to write, in large letters WHY AM I HERE WHEN I COULD HAVE SEEN SIX KIDS ON THE WAITING LIST TODAY?!
    And don't even think about mentioning the subject of role play...

  8. Oh come on, Alis! Role play is fun! You obviously had a bad experience, and need counselling (or another course...).

    Talking of courses (which we were), one of my grandchildren had a day off nursery because his teachers had to go on a course to learn (wait for this) how to cut up fruit!

  9. How bizarre! Is there something unusual about Manchester buses? Or BBC staff? The mind boggles!

  10. Oh I've been on those types of courses and found them excruciating. At least the bus adds a twist!

  11. Rosemary - I quite agree. Maybe they (the BBc staff, not the buses) are those vague, absent-minded professor types who aren't truly grounded in the everyday world of things like buses

    Hi, Karen. Yes - the bus is certainly different. Maybe the course will be held ON a bus, and then everyone can wrangle over who sits on the top at the front...I have no idea what it's all about, but I read it in The Times, so...

  12. There's invariably a bit at the beginning where the "facilitator" makes everyone agree that everything that takes place is confidential.

    But you just know that when you "feed back" to the group that Scoggins annoys you by picking his nose and eating the yield while you're having your sandwiches, that information will be back in the office before you are.

  13. This is the same BBC that will be promulgating more programmes on the 'savage' cuts that our nation is facing and how awful it is that we will all be suffering??

    Meanwhile the CEO of Suffolk is having £14,000 spent on personal training to help her liberate herself to do her job better.

    SOme people just don't get it, do they?

  14. Interesting how everyone seems to identify with these courses! And I'd forgotten about the "confidentiality", Tim! How true. I wonder what else I've forgotten...

    Hi, Ellie. Yes - isn't it odd the things for which funds are suddenly available? Our money, of course.

    (Verification word: unwory. I suppose that's the answer.)

  15. Oh I agree with Joanne - role play is the work of the devil.

  16. Hi, Colette. I hated role play at first,but we had to do so much for Relate that I go quite into it. My mother was an actress...