On a wet Saturday in December, St Andrew’s Church in Penrith played host to a training course run by the Association of Ringing Teachers. Eight keen and reasonably willing trainees spent the day wrestling with the issues involved in teaching bell handling.
The Module 1 course was facilitated by Judith Frye, who travelled all the way from Dunblane to be with us. Judith was aided by Chris de Cordova, during the afternoon session.
Acting the part of a learner, Chris managed to display every bad habit ever seen within a tower; I think she was making sure we knew what we had let ourselves in for!
The course comprised the theoretical aspects of teaching a new skill, then examined the basic components of ringing before looking at how to put both strokes together. It also covered teaching ringing up and down, as well as how to solve various handling problems. Judith provided practical demonstrations of all the training techniques, prior to the trainees having a go themselves as teacher and learner alternately. One thing we all realised in these role-playing sessions was that we tend to ring “automatically” and are very bad at putting into words exactly what we want our pupils to do. We will need to give this careful thought prior to teaching our first real learner.
There was an awful lot to cover in one day, so it was pretty intense but incredibly rewarding. Included in the price of the course is a teaching pack with lots of useful information, as well as access to the SmART Ringer website, packed with further valuable resources.
The training does not end with the course, however, as our mentors will oversee our progress and make sure we are up to the required standard before submitting us for certification. At this point, there will be eight brand new and shiny fully accredited ringing teachers available to the Guild. Wish us luck!
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.