Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips cover topics such as coaching, motivation and learning theory applied, with plenty of examples, to the teaching of ringing. Browse the Teaching Tips articles or search using keywords.


Combining strokes

Having got your novice ringer ringing the separate strokes proficiently, it is always a little nerve-racking handing over control of the bell so that they can put both strokes together. We share some helpful tips from Helen McGregor.

Giving feedback - mind your language

Feedback is an important teaching tool when progressing a learner with their ringing. Without feedback, it is difficult for a ringer to understand and modify their ringing. Learners who obtain feedback tend to perform more consistently over the long term...

Use feedback loops to enhance your teaching - IDEAS for teaching handling

One way of using feedback loops to enhance learning is the IDEAS model - Introduction, Demonstration, Explanation, Action, Summary. Using feedback loops such as IDEAS helps to identify learning objectives and encourages focused teaching on key points.

Handling teaching - How long do I go on working on improving my learner’s handling style?

To help us as ringing teachers understand how long we should continue to work with learners we need to learn about the learning process. Learners will need a different approach to teaching when they are at different stages of learning. The different teaching techniques are all about coaching the learner.

Catch, pull and hold on!

Ringing terminology is seductive. The more we use it, the less we are aware that to the uninitiated (including those we teach) it can mean something completely different. The worst case is when the intended meaning overlaps the perceived meaning. A good example is ‘Hold’. The dictionary says it is to ‘keep fast; grasp’ Is that really what we want? I know a number of ringers who ‘keep fast and grasp’ the tail end with terrible consequences at handstroke, and others who are so worried about not keeping the tail end fast and grasping it, that they can barely ring as they focus on holding the rope...

Continuously improving your teaching – engage in some reflective practice

How much do you think about your teaching? Do you reflect on how you could improve your teaching? Do you take for granted that your teaching is OK? Do you discuss your teaching with others?

As you teach more and more, your skills will improve, however it is contended that it is useful for all teachers and coaches to engage in some degree of reflection. This reflection may heighten a sense of self-awareness, leading to a certain openness to new ideas and helping to improve your skills as a teacher.

A balanced ringing style – which hand is doing most of the work?

Many learners don’t achieve a handstroke pull where the work is equally shared between the hands. For the purposes of simplicity, I am going to assume the learner has the tail end in the left hand. What you often see, to a greater or lesser degree, is the right hand in charge of the sally, taking hold of it before the left, doing most of the pull and letting go later than the left. Let’s look at the origin of the problem and then some ways to resolve it.

Are we giving our ringers what they really, really want?

Do our ringers come ringing purely for the pleasure of the ringing itself? The likelihood is that most of them do not. You might think that it will depend on the standard of the ringing they are involved in but it is not that straightforward!


Steps to ropesight

Acquiring that elusive skill known as ropesight can be a frustrating time. In her teaching tip, Heather Peachey believes you can’t specifically teach or learn ropesight. What you can do is provide the best opportunities for the skill to develop and teachers can reassure learners that they will develop it at their own pace. Follow the steps with Heather...


Helen McGregor explains an exercise which works very well at teaching the rhythm of the lead.

Keep your ringers ringing

Your new ringer has learned to handle a bell and is now ready to ring rounds with others.The next stage of their learning experience will be very different. The teacher and new ringer have been working together intensively on a one to one basis, with the ringer at the centre of the teacher’s attention. Now the learning curve will flatten out. As the ringer progresses towards elementary change ringing they will have to wait their turn to ring on practice nights and progress often seems hard to achieve, leading to frustration. Interest and motivation often wane...

Teaching Call Changes

Call Changes is the skill that most new ringers are taught after learning to ring rounds. It may be thought of as simple but there is more to it than might be imagined. Which skills does your ringer need to have or develop before learning to ring Call Changes?

Teaching Call Changes - putting it all into action

Putting into action the skills discussed in the previous article. How to make the first moves a success, how to use feedback to improve accuracy and how to move onto more complicated changes. Finally Call Change skills are reinforced and improved using variations.

Teaching Kaleidoscope Ringing

Kaleidoscope ringing is a series of exercises made within two places. It can be started at handstroke or backstroke. The simplest form is long places, four blows in one place. This is followed by place making with two blows being rung in each place and then by dodging. Kaleidoscope ringing helps the new ringer hear their bell and identify which place they are ringing in.

Advanced Kaleidoscope Ringing

Moving on from basic kaleidoscope works, there may be times when more advanced sequences may be useful to your band. When might more advanced kaleidoscope ringing be useful for developing skills in your ringers?

Do your learners struggle with changing the speed of their bell, particularly at backstroke?

By the time learners move onto plain hunting they need to be comfortable enough with speed changes so that they can devote their attention to the bell’s path, not being overly distracted by the mechanics of getting the bell to ring in the desired place. This skill starts developing from the earliest handling exercise through to the end of Learning the Ropes Level 1 when the learner can raise, lower and set a bell. Many of the LtR Level 2 exercises contribute to the refinement of this skill and with a little imagination, you can find others too.

Developing listening and striking skills with your ringers

Listening is one of the foundation skills for ringing. Without the ability to hear their bell it is impossible for a ringer to reach their full potential. New ringers frequently have difficulty identifying the sound of their own bell. This article provides a few tips on how to help your ringers hear their bell and develop the good rhythmic ringing we all want to hear.

Elementary… practices for Module 2

At Rattlesden, Suffolk, Pam Ebsworth had a number of teachers who had recently attended an ART Module 2 Day Course. Pam was wondering how to give her teachers more teaching practice. The problem was that these particular teachers were not Tower Captains and were finding few opportunities to teach at the necessary level. After discussion with other ART mentors it was decided to hold a dedicated Learning the Ropes Level 2 practice...


Teaching ringers to cover

Building the skills required to cover confidently and well with the goal of ringing a quarter peal on the tenor to a doubles method.

Teaching ringers to Plain Hunt

All the things that need to be covered in order to get your ringers confidently ringing Plain Hunt – theory, bell control, ropesight and place counting.


Teaching Plain Bob Doubles

Before moving on to learning any method (in this case, Plain Bob Doubles) it is important that ringers have the necessary foundation skills in place and understand the theory of the method they are trying to ring. Learn what these are and how to teach them...

Introducing Plain Bob Doubles in easy stages

When learning Plain Bob Doubles as their first method, a ringer often finds that being able to recall the four leads of the plain course whilst ringing is too much. By using short learning methods to introduce the various different pieces of work in Plain Bob Doubles, the ringer does not have to be able to recall the whole forty changes of the plain course initially...

Introducing the bobs in Plain Bob Doubles

Splitting new skills into smaller bits allows the learner to tackle a new skill in palatable bites. Here are two strategies to help your student learn the calls, both involving repeating selected works.

Using singles in Plain Bob Doubles

It astonishes Heather Peachey that there are still many who insist that “You cannot have singles in Plain Bob Doubles”, despite the fact that their use has been described in the Ringers’ Diary for many years...


Engage in some reflective practice

Do you reflect on how you could improve your teaching? Do you take for granted that your teaching is OK? Do you discuss your teaching with others? As you teach more and more your skills will improve, however it is useful for all teachers and coaches to engage in some degree of reflection. This reflection may lead to a certain openness to new ideas and help to improve your skills as a teacher...

Keep ALL your ringers ringing

Every activity wants to keep the numbers of participants as high as possible and keep people involved for as long as possible. Ringing is no exception. We want to retain the ringers we recruit. The traditional model of ringing development is the Pyramidal Model, however the Participants’ Needs Model is more effective in retaining and motivating developing ringers...

Participation to performance

The latest research shows that more people stay actively involved if the training follows a participants’ needs-led model, which looks at the stages of development of new ringers from the novice to expert and the different rates of progress ringers make. This approach to training creates a larger pool of people who remain actively involved, and from whom high-end performers and experts can emerge over an extended period...

What type of ringers do you teach?

In the last article we looked at the stages of development of new ringers from the novice to expert and at the different rates of progress ringers make. We identified that specific types of ringers need different coaching approaches and the fact that as individual ringing teachers we are unlikely to be able to become expert coaches for all of the different groups. You need to cater for the various coaching requirements of different types of ringers...

Get going with goals

Goal setting has been shown to be one of the most important motivational tools a tutor or coach can use when developing the skills of a participant in an activity. The principles of goal setting are generic and apply across the board to many activities including ringing...

Get GROWing with goals

Now you're convinced that using goals when teaching is one of the most effective ways to motivate those learning, what factors will make the use of goal setting work better for your ringers ...

Score from successful goals

We will look at the various types of goals which can be used and when each type of goal might be useful when teaching ringers. Do you have a long term goal for your ringers or for your band? What do you think of when you set goals for your ringers? How do you plan the actions necessary to achieve long term goals?

Learning how we learn

Teachers increasingly use research from cognitive psychology to inform their practice. Cognitive psychology is usually defined as the study of the mind, including perception, attention and memory.

Why do ringers lapse?

Alison Smedley has carried out a piece of action research as part of a BA course in Charity & Social Enterprise Management with Anglia Ruskin University – 'A voluntary activity which seemed to have a particular problem with retention of its participants is that of bell ringing'.

National Teachers' Standards and Learning the Ropes

Clare learned to ring under those old ways of teaching, and now considers the ART approach – and the Learning the Ropes scheme in particular – against the Teachers’ Standards used in the world of school education.

Responding to the psychological needs of learners

Using Self Determination Theory, Mark looks at the teaching of bell ringing, to understand what motivates people to learn and why the sense of fulfilment or personal flourishing is so important in that process.

An exploration of learning styles

Jenny looks at the VAK learning styles model; its validity and its limitations. See how students learn using a mixture of learning styles and their preferences may well change as learning progresses.

Interested in the ART Training Scheme?

The ART Training Scheme is available in three modules: the teaching of bell handling; the development of good foundation skills up to plain hunt; and the teaching of elementary change ringing. If you're interested in joining one of our schemes then have a look at the courses in more detail, including their entry requirements; decide which is the right one for you and then apply.

» The ART Training Scheme