I actually give one day courses for beginners
here in Germany. I emphasize beginners, as I am no superdooper expert. The students I get are usually of the category who don't know what an aperture is. In other words, they have no idea about anything much. I welcome people with any kind of camera, as I believe that "good" photos can be made with even the smallest point and shoot.
After doing this for a couple of years I've come to the conclusion that in most cases their hearts aren't in it. At the end of the day, they insist on having understood everything - usually without having written one wored in notes. I meet up with them often some time later and their photos are just as awful as before. Zero composition, zero focus, zero feeling in general. The wonky horizons are still there.
I would imagine that if someone went to the trouble of posting a photo on a site like cc and specifically asked what they could do better, then they may take that advice, or at least try to.
We see many people who don't seem to have grasped the essentials, but their "skills" are still praised no end - just look at the amount of rubbish on flickr.
Very difficult subject, but I guess it would be an idea to start up a section here at CC and see how it goes.
As regards the RPS - I totally agree with Del and Abers. I take the distinctions as a goal to aim for myself and so far I've had great fun getting there. I must say that part of it initially was to have a piece of paper which says "she can do it", I'm sure the distinctions have made me look a little more like a "serious" photographer
Living in Germany I can't join in most of the activities, and I get quite jealous reading about what Del's been up to!