Many of us gathered from across Suffolk and East Anglia at St Leonard’s Church, Horringer for our Module 1 Day Course on a bright winter’s day in February, the snowdrops just starting to push through in the churchyard and a definite chill still in the air. The smart new ring of bells at St Leonard’s - a light eight cast, hung and dedicated only a year or so ago - provided the perfect setting for our practical sessions, while the church itself hosted the theory sessions and all-important refreshments.
We were a mixed group of people with various levels of experience: some of us had taught ringers before, or helped out; some of us brought experience of teaching professionally. But we all shared an enthusiasm for ringing and a desire to pass that enthusiasm on to others. Many of our towers were planning active recruitment drives, or had already been approached, perhaps in conjunction with the national Ringing Remembers campaign which was on many of our minds, and so the skills and ideas we could take back from the day have been invaluable, and the ongoing mentoring and SmART Ringer resources have ensured that we continue to learn and develop as ringing teachers and share best practice.
One of the best aspects of the course for me was the recognition that every learner who comes to take up bell ringing is different, and there will never be one method of teaching that fits every learner. The day therefore felt more like a forum for sharing ideas than a syllabus, although the excellent resources provided made sure that we covered all the right ground. The practical session on correcting handling faults was particularly good for this, as we tried out different ways of helping each other to understand how we could improve, and became more confident and relaxed in allowing a learner to assess and improve their own situation in a safe and controlled environment.
We all very much enjoyed the day and look forward to developing our skills with our mentors, enabling more and more people to discover the joys of bell ringing. Our thanks to all those who were involved in running and delivering the course, and in providing the excellent hospitality at St Leonard’s.
Max Drinkwater - St Mary’s Church, Newmarket
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.