3rd November 2018 saw seventeen would-be ringing teachers assemble for an ART Module One Day Course at St Giles Church in Codicote, Hertfordshire. Graham Nabb, who was originally intending to present this course, was unfortunately unable to do, so we were fortunate, therefore, that Lesley Boyle was able to step in as Tutor at the last minute.
The day course ran from 9.15 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. covering elements of teaching theory and bell-handling aimed at enabling participants to feel confident about teaching learners from scratch. The theoretical elements were presented in the church hall and the practical elements in the tower - on a mid-weight ring of eight which were tied (to avoid annoying the neighbours!).
We provided our own lunches, also enjoying refreshments which included scrumptious cakes made by the organisers, who made an excellent job of arranging a seamless day. The tea and coffee breaks were particularly welcome, and indeed necessary, given the quantity of material covered. These breaks gave us a chance to network with other ringers and to browse through and purchase educational resources which were available for sale.
M1 deals with the theory of teaching with emphasis on how it applies to bell-ringing, and all the elements of teaching a complete beginner to handle a bell independently, including ringing up and down. In the practical sessions Lesley explained and demonstrated teaching techniques. We then had the opportunity to practise these skills in groups of two and three. This was particularly valuable as we were also able to engage in discussion about the activities, and we gained tips and pointers to refine our own handling. Lesley circulated amongst our groups providing assistance and suggestions. We were also really lucky to have the benefit of David Smith's experience and support. He is a visiting ART tutor from Australia (and a member on the Central Council Executive).
As a teacher with experience across many age groups, I appreciated the step-by-by-step structured approach to learning. This overcomes the problem seen in some towers whereby the learner is confronted with a new task but is given insufficient guidance about how to achieve it; a teacher who can offer intermediate stages is much more likely to meet with success.
At the beginning of the day it was apparent that the course attendees had varied experience both in ringing and as teachers. By the time we left, the calm and confident manner in which Lesley delivered the course had reassured us all: yes, we really can teach handling from scratch without any difficulty and there is nothing scary about it after all.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.