On Saturday 15th February, 16 ringers met at Bishopstoke, Hampshire for an ITTS Module 1 Day Course, tutored by Pip Penney. The ages of Delegates ranged from 19 to “retired”, with teaching experience ranging from none to over 30 years. The day comprised a balanced mix of classroom tutorials and practical sessions on tied bells.
During classroom sessions we were taken through working out how your new ringer learns, providing useful feedback, and identifying / correcting handling faults.
During practical sessions in the tower, new teachers and mentors (experienced teachers) paired up to provide hands-on experience in teaching. Mentors were able to use their experience of teaching to give new teachers real examples of what a learner may unexpectedly do during early teaching sessions. It was quite rewarding seeing a new teacher work out what was going wrong and then correcting the fault, which will hopefully give them additional confidence in a real situation where a learner is genuinely making that mistake.
During the day, both new teachers and experienced teachers were introduced to some different teaching techniques that could be used. Experienced teachers also contributed their own experiences, and were encouraged to contribute to the day. Throughout the entire day, the approach was one of building a toolbox of techniques that may be used, rather than proscribing a rigid approach to teaching of bell handling. The message for teachers was to tailor their teaching to each learner, selecting techniques that will enable them to learn in the most appropriate way for them.
As a ringer with 35 years experience, and 30 years of teaching, I learnt a few new approaches to developing skills in new ringers that I would have liked to have had in my back pocket a long time ago. Talking with a new teacher after the ITTS Module 1 Day Course, and watching him taking his first steps in teaching a learner, I can see how ITTS Module 1 has enabled him to start teaching with confidence (under the supervision of an experienced teaching acting as his mentor). I can also see that he will ensure that his learner does not develop any of the bad handling that often holds back new ringers as they start to ring rounds and later methods.
Overall feedback on the day was that this was a very enjoyable and worthwhile course. More private feedback to me after the day from experienced teachers was generally that they hadn’t expected to get so much out of the day, and they now felt that they can improve their teaching ability still further.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.