After too long being locked in our homes, unable to mix with our friends let alone with strangers, as soon as lockdown lifted I found myself contacted by several people who were keen to get out of their houses and learn to ring. Admittedly I had bombarded the local Facebook groups with reports of any ringing we had managed to do in 2020 and 2021 so people had probably gained a vague idea of what bell ringing might involve.
So in the autumn of 2021 I started to teach some of these beginners in joint sessions with a neighbouring tower. Although my fellow teachers were both very experienced, I was a complete novice and while I was learning a lot from them, going on the ART M1 course seemed like quite a good idea – and it was.
The course, run by Les Boyce, was a lot of fun and there was a great deal of laughter. It turns out that teaching people who know how to ring but are pretending they don’t, when you yourself don’t know how to teach but are pretending you do, is fraught with difficulties, not least when the “pupil” has to try to explain to their “teacher” what it is that is supposed to be happening.There was a lot of laughter.
The day course was a good balance of classroom and tower sessions and covered topics including the basic components of hand-stroke and backstroke, joining the strokes together and teaching how to ring up and ring down. We also looked at methods of learning and solving common handling problems. It was well structured and delivered. The sessions were informative, supportive and non-judgemental. The take home course materials were excellent and included a checklist of the steps involved in building up the skills of a beginner, as well as teacher’s and beginner’s guides to progress through “Learning the Ropes”.
The final touches to a very successful course were provided by the ringers of Stoke Climsland who offered us tea, coffee, cakes and lunch scattered liberally throughout the day.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.