Splitting new skills into smaller bits allows the learner to tackle a new skill in palatable bites. This is valuable for all learning styles, in particular for those whose preference is kinaesthetic learning, i.e. learning more through hands-on experience than by verbal or visual instruction. To have the most flexibility you need to let go of the tradition that suggests that all touches must be true or at the very least start and stop in rounds. Practise what you need to practise in the most time-effective manner.
Here are two strategies for chunking the learning of calls, both involving repeating selected works. Whilst most will teach only bobs, do remember that Plain Bob Doubles does have a specific single (place notation 123). It’s very useful as it introduces the concept of more than one type of call early on and it also permits a wider variety of 120s to be rung. It has featured in the Ringing World Diary for a very long time but many ringers don’t seem to know about it.
The simplest example of this is to call two consecutive bobs.The 2 will run in twice – it merely plain hunts, but the difference is that the ringer must be mentally ready to either dodge 3-4 down OR run in if a bob is heard.Similarly the 3 with either make 2nd or run out. The purpose of this exercise is that whenever they approach a piece of work they remind themselves of the work if there’s a call.
This can be developed in several ways. You may decide to call a bell to run in, then let a whole course be rung before again calling them to run in. Once they’ve grasped running in/out you could call a touch randomly requiring their bell to do either piece of work interspersed with plain leads. This clearly requires a longer piece of ringing but, as long as you’ve planned for it, why not? Whoever said Plain Bob Doubles touches can’t exceed 120 changes?
Having dealt with running in/out, move on to considering the work of the other two bells who will repeat a short course of work, i.e. make the bob or long 5th. This is a good time to visit the theory with a reminder that all “work” occurs at the treble’s lead (one ringer told me that before she learned to ring inside she thought “bob” was a reminder to the treble to lead!) The theory will reveal why 2 & 3 plain hunt through the lead end and “do it next time”, whereas after a bell makes the bob it rings long 5th next. The concept of “place bell” can be usefully established and is good preparation for more advanced methods in the future.
These are simply ways to start ringing Plain Bob Doubles and then at any point have the band repeat a specific lead over and over in isolation before either calling “stand” or issuing a call that tells the band to drop back into Plain Bob Doubles. A key issue here is ensuring that communication is clear. Some towers use it a lot but in some places there may be hesitance, often due to long-standing ringers being unfamiliar with it or reluctant to try “new-fangled ideas”. If it’s not part of the tower’s regular diet rehearse it first with a band who can ring Plain Bob Doubles and then ask someone to give their rope to the new ringer. If you have a SmART Ringer login you can find details of these and other “stepping stone” methods in the Learning the Ropes resources section.
If you want to pose a teaching question to the ringing community why not join the Ringing Teacher Facebook group – you’ll get lots of helpful responses from a friendly and supportive group of teachers.
Direct your ringers to this SmART Ringer resource where they can learn more about making bobs in Plain Bob Doubles