Just as more experienced ringers have our own goals to keep us motivated, such as ringing a touch or quarter peal of a particular method we are learning, people who are new to ringing can also feel a sense of achievement from attaining something they’ve been working towards.
If your ringers get into the habit of setting their own goals (with suggestions or help from their teachers), it’s something they’ll probably always do.
The Learning the Ropes scheme is a good way for teachers to help ringers set their own goals. We have heard of ringers who want to get their "Level 3 before Christmas", or there’s been a bit of friendly competition within the band over who can get their Level 5 certificate first.
Signing off milestones as they move through the scheme demonstrates that to the ringer that they are progressing towards the ultimate goal of becoming a method ringer, even though the journey is a long one! It's easier to stay motivated if you are achieving something every few months rather than hoping you'll get to the end of the journey in 2 or 3 years time.
Certificates and badges awarded can help celebrate achievements, particularly when done on a special occasion such as before a service, or on a team night out. Take photographs, applaud wildly and celebrate: after all, it’s no small achievement even to learn to handle a bell and ring rounds with others. Certificates on the walls, team photographs, pictures on your website of people receiving certificates are all feelgood PR for your team and an aid to further recruitment.
How about writing a wall-chart on January 1st where people can
fill in their Ringing New Year’s resolutions and tick them off as they
are achieved? It might be to ring at another tower, to learn a
particular method, to attain a LtR level or to call a peal – encourage
everyone to set their own goal, no matter how large or small. If you’re
in charge of the ringing, try to find ways to help all your ringers
achieve their goals.
Use other goals that people can work towards: perhaps your newly recruited team would like to aim to ring rounds on open bells to celebrate the forthcoming flower festival, or on Easter morning, for a special occasion.
One very small young ringer wanted to ring the tenor to a touch of doubles on a Sunday morning and that was his main goal for almost a year until he was big enough!
During practices, pass the chocolate tin round when the ringing goes well, or introduce a ‘chocolate challenge’ themed fun practice where each ringer needs to complete a particular task to win their chocolate. Maybe you have a ringer who is struggling to set their bell – challenge them to set it 10 times in a row and win a chocolate bar. Perhaps there’s someone who would like to try their hand at conducting – ask them to call a touch to earn their chocolate. Set up several levels of difficulty with your so that everyone gets to succeed at something. Make sure everyone wins some chocolate, this is very important!
Or how about having a ‘Ringer of the Day’ award for the person who does the most impressive piece of ringing on a practice night? This doesn’t mean they have to ring anything too fiendish or complicated, just applaud the person who makes the most progress – a little wrapped prize from a lucky dip bag, a chocolate bar, a certificate or badge – or just buy them a drink in the pub afterwards. Everyone likes to have their efforts acknowledged.
Hold a mini ‘striking competition’ during a practice night, and if you are lucky enough to have a simulator, let your ringers individually try their hand at ringing something simple (such as plain hunt or even just rounds) with perfect striking. The simulator will give you the score at the end and it’s a great way to keep everyone progressing on evenings when you meet a little too short to ring methods.
Let your ringers take turns to run part of the practice occasionally – it’s very democratic, you’ll all share ideas and it’s a great way of developing leadership skills in a supportive and friendly environment.
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