It was with a little trepidation that I arrived at Wrington for an ITTS Module 1 Day Course. Was my handling good enough to be able to teach others? Was I any good at teaching? What were we going to be expected to do?
I needn’t have worried. After a coffee in the cosy Church Rooms we had an introduction to the Scheme, our first theory session and then headed off to the church to climb the 65 steps to the ringing chamber (something we were to repeat a further 3 times during the day!).
10 teachers and 3 Mentors led by Tutor Graham Nabb were introduced to the practical aspects of breaking ringing down into small chunks (how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time..) and then had a go ourselves. Some of the techniques initially felt very alien, but soon became comfortable and gave us an insight as to how a new learner must feel as it was a long time ago for most of us! I learnt that I had some minor handling faults – but had never been told about them, highlighting the need for the course and a change in our thinking about ringing.
We learnt the stages of teaching handling, and raising and lowering – making the tricky issue of coils seem incredibly easy and were introduced to giving feedback. Graham made us think about the actual words we use, and what they might mean to a novice, highlighting pitfalls such as “hold” and “pull” which made us think about what we mean and what learners understand.
There was a lot to take in and a lot to learn, but everyone was very supportive and there was a happy atmosphere throughout the day. Graham was ably supported by 3 mentors and Jill Hansford who organised the day looked after our caffeine needs and was a great help in the practical sessions correcting and encouraging.
So what did I learn? That breaking it into small chunks makes teaching handling a very smooth process; everyone will progress at different speeds; bad handling must be correct before it becomes a habit; and that learning to ring is fun! Two words that I will take away with me are “Observation” and “Practice”. This Day Course is the first step, now I need to hone my observation skills (not as easy as it sounds) and practice with other teachers and mentors to make sure the skills are really learnt.
I enjoyed the day and feel energised and enthusiastic for the next steps – having fun teaching someone to ring!
Thank you everyone for making it an enjoyable and worthwhile day.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.