Saturday 8th January saw the Coventry Guild host ART’s Module 1 course at Ryton on Dunsmore, a village located on the outskirts of Coventry. Advertised as ‘Train the trainers’ course I was still a little unsure of what to expect as we arrived. I was confident I would gain something positive from attending, but not entirely sure what it would be. My only practical experience of ART had been what I had picked up from our friend Nick Brett, who happened to be running today’s course. It wasn’t through any prejudice or stubbornness on my part, perhaps an ambivalence that I was guilty of, knowing others close to hand were more skilled and natural at teaching than me.
As with most activities at this moment in time, they get entered into the diary, but you are never 100% sure they will go ahead. We had been assured earlier in the week that all was well and sensible precautions were being taken, as you might expect for any well-run course. As with any good meet up it also began with a coffee!
The course itself was well structured and well delivered. The impact of lots of information being communicated across a long day was mitigated with short, alternating blocks of theory in the hall and practical in the tower. Having regular breaks to discuss and chat with fellow ringers is always of benefit too. The content did not come across as prescriptive or dictatorial, just a recognition that everyone is different in how they learn – a fascinating subject in its own right, away from ringing. In retrospect, it never crossed my mind that ‘I knew this already’ or even that the subject matter was out of my reach. It just came across as encouraging. Perhaps, more importantly, as supportive.
What did we come away with then? To start with, a bumper pack of information and support kit, worth the course fee in itself (the fee being generously settled for us by the Guild). I found the opportunity to experience being a learner again very useful and particularly insightful. Above all, as with all worthwhile courses, it provoked discussion on the way home about what we had discovered, how we could do things better and how we could solve technique problems we have encountered with our own learners - that is really what the course is all about and trying to achieve. I would highly recommend it!
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.