I attended the ITTS Module 1 Day Course after some persuasion from Janet, who taught me to ring 14 years ago. Having taught a number of our team since she agreed to be my Mentor and help me after the Day Course to successfully train up a new ringer for our little band. After discovering that the cost would be covered by the Yorkshire Association, and that lunch was included (it was fantastic by the way, thank you to those involved!), I merrily agreed and made my way to Northallerton, ready to spend my day learning how to teach.
Upon arrival I duly signed in and stuck on my name badge, which labelled me “Teacher”. We then started with a theory session, covering different types of learner we might encounter; visual, audio and kinaesthetic. We also covered the “Whole-part-whole” approach to teaching; trying the whole action together, breaking it down into smaller bits to focus on individually, and then putting it all back together again. We were put into small groups, working with other teachers and mentors, acting as each other’s “leaners”. Numerous trips up and down the tower stairs alternating theory with practical saw us cover teaching the backstroke, the handstroke, putting the two together, ringing up and down and common problems. The day involved returning to a lot of things I haven’t had to do for quite some time. A rather tall “learner” meant I had to return to a very large box, not being a particularly tall ringer I fear this may become a common feature of my teaching sessions! I found it very challenging (I’m sure a few of us did!) to return to doing solely one stroke, not something I’ve done since I was a learner myself. The odd times we both went for the sally, or even when neither of us did, made for a rather authentic learner experience. I was sent home with a folder filled with booklets and teaching aids, all I’m missing now is a willing victim!
I found the Day Course very helpful as a complete novice, although I think even some more experienced ringing teachers would also benefit from looking at different ways to approach teaching. Before I went on the Day Course I felt nervous about the prospect of teaching bell ringing to someone, but the way each step was broken down made it possible for me to see how I would be able to pass on my knowledge to someone else; and the online and mentor support I can rely on whilst I am teaching my new learner will give me all the backup I need.
I have found it very interesting since the Day Course watching my own teams’ style of ringing, and how many different ways there are of doing a simple action. Since I completed the Day Course my team have been fantastic ambassadors for bell ringing in our local area, and one of our members has found an interested party, so fingers crossed I should be meeting my first learner this week!
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.