On a mild Inverness morning, four new ART recruits gathered in the Kenneth St hall – Anthony, Rachel, Colin and myself. Our mission? Learn how to teach bell handling effectively. In this we were aided by our very able tutor and ART expert Judith Frye, with SACR Ringing Master, Ruth Marshall assisting.
The day started with introductions and we nervously admitted our skill level. Whereas Anthony and Colin had taught before, it was completely new to Rachel and me, but we drove straight in with an informative theory session. Then it was up the tower and the real challenge began. Although we are all experienced ringers and know very well how to handle a bell ourselves, how do you teach someone else? Luckily the ART exercises guided us gently through. We paired up and took turns at being teacher and learner.
Next it was back down for coffee and more theory. Like yoyos however we were soon in the tower again! We tried to put into practice the four pillars we had been taught – verbal instruction, demonstration, verbal/physical cues and physical interaction. As each learner will learn differently, we will need to be flexible as teachers and adapt to them. After lunch, the pattern was repeated as we worked on getting learners to put both strokes together.
Our final practical session involved being shown some obvious handling errors and having to call out how we would suggest correcting them. Some were very obvious, others trickier to spot. But the key as Judith said was to observe, observe and observe again! At the end of an intense day we were all exhausted but confident we could move forward with the next step – finding an actual learner to teach. Many thanks to Judith and Ruth, and to my fellow students for such an informative and enjoyable experience.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.