I should say for starters that I know the ringers at Colerne to be a pretty calm and competent bunch, who don't get into a flap about minor difficulties - and that is just as well, for they had been informed just the evening before the course that the church itself could not be used as planned for the theory sessions... every organiser's nightmare, the double-booking.
All was calm and organised by the time the students arrived. The village hall, which was just next to the churchyard, had excellent facilities, so we were very comfortable indeed for our theory sessions and our morning coffee, buffet lunch, and afternoon tea. Fortunately, Colerne also has a simulator connected to their bells, so our practical sessions could go ahead without disturbing the service in the church.
The theory sessions weren't just lectures, but merged with useful discussions and exchanges of ideas and experiences. I think we all enjoyed talking to other people who teach ringing, comparing our problems and making suggestions for possible solutions.
We were eleven trainees, which with the help of the Tutor's wife allowed us to divide into two teams of six when doing the practical exercises. I think we were all grateful that we were using the simulator when we were challenged to ring "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star": it feels very odd as a change-ringer to be trying tunes on tower bells! Much hilarity ensued, proving that setting tricky handling exercises can be quite fun.
Exercises which can be used to help learners work up to ringing Bob Doubles were interesting to try, and everyone got a chance to ring some of these "non-methods", as well as to explain to others what situations a particular exercise was meant to help with. It gave us lots of ideas to use, and will maybe encourage us to invent a few more "non-methods" to use for specific circumstances we find in our home towers.
All in all, the course was good fun, useful, interesting and VERY good value- best £20 I've spent on ringing. The refreshments were also excellent and good value, but one expects that from Colerne...
Learn how to teach the skills of change ringing.
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