Twenty-two potential ringing teachers and mentors arrived bright and early at St. Helen’s church in Abingdon on Saturday 18th January.
Graham Nabb was our Tutor for the day; he was all set to teach us how to teach bell handling and bell control to new ringers.
The day was divided into four theory and four practical sessions. These sessions alternated with each other, so we had no chance to drift off to sleep.
Graham presented the ‘theory’ material in an interesting and engaging manner.
The four practical sessions in the tower were enjoyable and instructive. Graham demonstrated, then we worked in pairs – teacher and mentor – to practise what he had shown us.
We learnt to separate the complicated skill of bell handling into ‘bite-size chunks’. Each ‘chunk’ can be taught to, and practised by, new ringers; then they combine the elements they have practised.
We learnt how important it is to develop our observation skills, enabling us to give immediate and accurate feedback to our learners.
There were lots of interesting techniques to try out, and even the ‘experienced’ mentors (who have already taught people to ring) found they were picking up new tips.
The refreshments (provided by Day Course organiser Susan Read and her band of helpers) were delicious: homemade cakes and biscuits; tasty homemade soups with bread, meats, cheeses and salad. It was almost worth attending just for the food!
All in all, it was a packed and most worthwhile day.
We headed for home, full of enthusiasm and inspiration to start teaching our new learners.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.