Bell handling assessments for mentors

As announced at the ART Conference 2017 the ART Management Committee has decided that from 1 January 2019 all mentors of Module 1 teachers will also be assessed. This addresses some weaknesses in our processes and is a further step to improve standards of teaching.

Mentors are teachers who have the additional responsibility of supporting a less experienced teacher. The original concept of the mentoring system, that was established some years ago, was one-to-one mentoring encouraging a transfer of skills from ‘old’ to ‘new’ to address ringing’s obvious demographic challenge of ageing teachers. But it has not always worked as well as we would have liked.

We often find that existing ringing teachers best progress though Module 1 by working together, supporting each other, and the emergence of so much more group teaching makes one-to-one support more complicated. Situations arise when teachers of similar experience are given different titles ‐ one a mentor, one a teacher ‐an unnecessary and confusing complexity which is compounded when one is assessed and the other is not.

There are also clear safety issues that are crucial to understand and display when teaching bell handling and if ART does not asses these competences ART cannot be sure that everyone teaching has met the required standards. Safety issues are becoming more and more important in the current environment. We could be sending new, possibly young, recruits to unsuitable teachers. This is a situation we would like to eliminate whenever possible. Our mission after all is to improve the learning experience of all ringers.

So, ART Tutors are now able to take a more flexible approach to mentor appointments, sometimes simply getting two teachers with experience to work together as teachers for instance, signing off each others’ books, and both being assessed in the same way when all the exercises are completed.

The assessment for mentors will be the same as for teachers, but mentors will not be required to complete a Personal Progress Logbook. There are a few mentors where their teacher is not teaching, and they will continue to have to complete the logbook to show they have used and are familiar with the exercises before being assessed.

We now have a developing group of ART Assessors who carry out all assessments and they are a key resource in ensuring that teaching and safety standards are maintained and improved as time goes on.