This course was arranged at a few weeks’ notice following a request for help from Blackawton ringers. They are keen to get regular ringing going in their tower and see the need to recruit new blood to the band. They also saw the need to get help and advice about how to teach and, having new recruits posed to start learning, were keen for ART to give a fairly quick response in terms of organising a teachers’ course. They got support from other nearby towers in the South Hams who sent both experienced and potential teachers to the course. In the event 11 students and an observer from 7 different towers gathered at Blackawton on the 12th January.
In many respects St. Michael’s at Blackawton makes an ideal course venue – ringing room a short flight of steps off a gallery at the back of the church, a warm and cosy meeting room below the gallery, access to kitchen and toilet and a very accommodating pub across the road which open the kitchen specially for the group at lunchtime. However, I arrived the afternoon before the course to help tie the bells and was a little disconcerted to find single strand ropes in the ringing room (see picture). Past experience in Devon also suggested that these might be very long and only ringable with one or more coils. Lying in bed in the pub the night before I started to think about how we might best cope with this. In the event the ropes were not at all a problem and, if anything, a bit short. Nearly all the students attending were Devon call change ringers, but it is evident that, whichever tradition ringers come from, good teachers agree about the fundamentals of good handling – vertical travel of the rope, pulling right through both strokes, tidy handling, etc.
The students enjoyed the day and went away enthused if the comments on the feedback forms are anything to go by:
“A really useful day which has made me rethink my own ringing – how/why/when I catch/release the sally, etc. So, I feel better enabled to explain better to a learner. A boost to confidence for teaching!”
“Really enjoyed the day, learnt so many tips, thank you.”
It was good for ART to venture into new territory and I am hopeful that a new cluster of ART-trained teachers will be able to work together in the South Hams.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.