“Many thanks for an excellent course. We all learned a great deal and are most grateful to you for the positive, encouraging way you allayed our nerves and fears”
“Very inspiring and informative, now I need some new ringers”
“Thank you for a very useful course. It helped me having watched an ART Teacher over the last 6 months, as today’s course made a lot more sense”
“May I say how much I enjoyed the course. I feel it has given me more confidence to start training someone to ring bells”
These were some of the comments received following an Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) Module 1 Day Course in teaching bell-handling held on 24th March at St Laurence in Thanet. Rachel (tower captain) and Heather from Monkton also wrote the following:
“On Saturday 24th March two ringers from Monkton Tower in Thanet attended the ART training scheme Module 1- Teaching Bell Handling, at St Lawrence in Thanet tower. Nerves were jangling and we were unsure of how the day would unfold as we felt we would be the novices. As it turned out the eight ringers from other towers all felt the same.
We need not have worried, as Roger Booth guided us through a well-structured day, each section beginning with a short theory lesson and slideshow, then moving on to a practical session in the ringing room. He began with how to teach learners the basic components, through safety and on to the tricky areas of putting the two strokes together and ringing up and down. The last session covered how to solve common handling problems.
It was not easy to try and be a learner again, and to overcome our fear of role play, but everyone said it was a brilliant day and all felt they had become more confident and ready to support a learner. Before we left, Roger had one more thing for us to try. We were all right handed ringers so he asked us to ring left handed. Well, it takes you right back to being a learner once again. Have a go!!
Thank you to Tony Goodman for organising a lovely lunch for us too”.
The ART philosophy is not prescriptive, you can teach from bell up, or bell down, but is about breaking everything down into small manageable steps. It gives teachers a range of exercises which they can then deploy to suit the needs of each particular pupil - people learn in different ways.
As so many new teachers are often nervous about what to do when something goes wrong, so delegates were also shown how to take over a rope safely from a pupil, and how to pick up a rope safely when the pupil has let go. This was practiced with the bell only about half way up, and delegates were encouraged to practice this afterwards with another experienced ringer, before they needed to do it for real with a learner.
A one day course does turn someone into a confident and competent teacher, so the ten delegates now have up to two years to develop their teaching skills under the guidance and support of an experienced teacher (mentor). Once confident, an assessment is carried out by an independent assessor.
The ART Modules are open for anyone to request and attend. Given that there is a significant shortage of Sunday service ringers throughout the country, we believe that it is important to encourage people to teach. You do not need to be a highly skilled red or black zone ringer - that can even be a hinderance as it may have been a long time since you learnt.
The majority of the delegates on this course had been ringing for about five years. With the right guidance and support most should become competent teachers, helping to maintain Sunday service bands and establish bands at towers which might otherwise be silent.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.