I have not been ringing long. My better half (Jeanette) has been ringing longer than me. I learned to ring secretively on a crash course in South Suffolk without my wife knowing. I was taught in what I have come to know as the ‘traditional method’ which I have also called the “learn by your mistakes” method – if learning by mistakes really works on its own I’d be a great ringer by now.
My wife and I took stewardship of the local 6-bell tower (Walsoken). We wanted to design and create a place to ring that:
So: how can you take on a failing tower? By wiping the slate clean and starting again? Well here’s how we did it.
We both got full membership of ART. If you are not careful there are seemingly rows of people who say “You can’t teach bell handling unless you have been ringing for 100+ years”. This is not true. If you want to teach experienced ringers how to ring touches of “Treble Bob-Gobbledegook Major” then sure 100+ years is recommended but for teaching bell handling that is not the case. Jeanette and I work as a team ensuring that from close up and from a distance bell handling is taught well to ART standards.
We all know towers where things can get a bit tense. We all know towers where the person running the session loves to be thought of as a ringing-tyrant. I can’t think of a quicker way to lose a new ringing student than to have to teach in a horrid ringing environment. We created a vision statement for our tower and we stick to it. What does it say?
We became an ART Teaching Hub. We recognised that in our area and considering our own ringing capabilities that we would only teach up to and including LtR Level 3 for the time being. What I do know is that in bell ringing you need to focus on the achievable. It was not that we ‘settled’ on being a teaching hub rather than a teaching centre it was what we decided to. It shows the flexibility of the ART approach. In our local ringing district we needed somewhere to teach bell handling and that is what we set out to do and with the support of ART we have achieved that!
We intend to gently progress with some new initiatives this year
The marriage of support from ART and genuine enthusiasm from all concerned has made the Walsoken ART Teaching Hub a successful reality.