On the morning of 10th October, our group met at St Mary’s church in Sprotbrough. We had attended the other training courses together, so it was great that we already knew each other and knew about each other’s differing teams. We all knew Neil, our course leader, so it was a very relaxed group throughout.
Everyone within the group had different needs and experience, and Neil expertly tailored the course to meet our individual requirements. Our learners that we are teaching are also all very different and represent a wide age range across some 60 years.
We began by consolidation of where we were with our own teams, beginning with listening skills. We had already tried many of the exercises previously covered with our own teams and there were opportunities to share successes and further suggestions. One interesting exercise we tried was clapping before ringing to reinforce the idea of an open handstroke lead and regular placing of each bell.
There was also an emphasis on the teaching of theory, which we all already did with our own teams. Ringing is full of jargon and it’s so easy to say things without explaining the full meaning for learners. We covered the importance of teaching ringers to follow a blue line and to also know their order of work – within the group we all personally had different approaches to learning methods, but we all agreed on these key elements being vital. We also looked at how we teach theory, with some people working together so one teaches theory pertinent to a few learners whilst ringing continues for others. Others of us have different stages to our practice sessions, so theory is taught as ringing progresses.
There were plenty of opportunities for us to take different roles within the course and plenty of chances for us to play the learner and teacher, explaining what is required of the learner and/or the rest of the team, with Neil coaching us through this so we didn’t miss anything. We tried this with exercises such as Bistow Doubles and Cloister (Stedman Quick Sixes) and discussed the other options available. Plenty of resources had been prepared for us to take away and use immediately in our own towers and we were pointed to where others are available.
The course finished with us solving problems that a ringer may have. We worked in groups to devise plans of action for each scenario and there were opportunities for us to try these out within the group.
The ART process has been an interesting one for all of us. We have really come together as a group over the past 10 months or so. We have held 3 Learners Ringing Sessions, where we have come together from across 7 towers across a large geographical area, and focused solely on opportunities for learners to practise their skills and meet each other, with opportunities to socialise over a meal together. We also have formed a dedicated Facebook page for ourselves as teachers and our learners to join, with opportunities for us to share successes and advertise ringing sessions etc. I think the greatest thing, besides the learning of course, has been the amount of fun and laughter we all shared during the day and since, alongside new friendships.
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