An eye-opening experience...
At the moment, recruitment for bellringing is becoming increasingly difficult as people are attracted to less traditional hobbies. This makes efficient and engaging teaching incredibly valuable to a learner as they explore bellringing as a possible lifelong endeavour. Starting to ring can be a hard step for a new learner to take, particularly if they feel their progress is slow.
The Association of Ringing Teachers aims to create a standard of teaching across the ringing community which enables learners to feel comfortable in their newfound interest. Teaching is a skill for which some may have more natural aptitude than others, but everybody has the potential to be confident and capable in this area.
Module 1 of the ART course targets the education of new learners as they begin to handle a bell. Having learned to handle a bell myself only 5 years prior to this course, it is enlightening to see the various techniques that can be applied to make this refined art even more effective.
In a series of theoretical and practical exercises, our tutor Judith Frye helped us to become more assured in our methods. One emphasis was to ensure that handling was spot on.
During the process of instructing bell handling to a learner, it is easy to miss a small error that they make, which may become a problem in the future when they begin to learn change ringing in its full form.
This course dealt with all the varied challenges that a teacher will face in helping a learner handle a bell, from general safety in the ringing room to the different ways that each person will absorb information. Towards the end of the day, we practiced the course of action should a learner let go of the rope, which was a scary prospect but can be invaluable in a worst-case scenario.
Throughout the day, I was able to experience the journey of bringing a learner from square one to ringing a bell comfortably without the pressure of teaching an actual novice. This has given me a great amount of confidence to teach in the future, as well as to others that have attended this course.
I would recommend this course to anybody who would like to improve their teaching skills to train learners to become the best they can be. It is an enjoyable and informative event that I am sure I will never forget.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.