Following an approach from Alan Bentley of Aston Clinton Ringing Centre, an ITTS Module 1 course was arranged at Marsworth with first choice of places being offered to Oxford Diocesan Guild members, with Frank Seabright as tutor. In the event, the number of ODG members booking was rather disappointing and the course was opened up to bookings from elsewhere, with the full 12 places taken including 2 delegates each from Northants, Bedfordshire and Surrey.
One of the trainee teachers writes:
“I learnt to ring in the traditional way, having short lessons during bell practice. I got on well and was soon able to ring rounds and call changes. My style, however, left a lot to be desired, making it difficult for me to ring in towers with light bells or with long draughts. Experienced ringers would tell me all the things I was doing wrong but I found it very difficult to understand how to correct them.
When our tower’s ringing master undertook module 1 of the Integrated Teacher Training Scheme, I joined his students in order to start again from the beginning. I had two tied bell practices of two hours each. The Bell handling was broken down into stages and there was plenty of time to learn each step and practice until it was mastered.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Learning the Ropes scheme, which allows you to record your progress as your skills develop. My style improved enormously, along with my confidence and ringing ability and before long I was helping to teach our newest learners.
All this has led to my own attendance of the ITTS module 1 at Marsworth in order to develop my teaching skills. This day long workshop gave us all the components needed to be able to teach bell handling. We learnt the practical teaching process, which we were able to practice with each other, taking it in turns to be the teacher and the student. In addition we learnt all the other components of being an effective tutor, such as lesson planning, how to use reinforcement and feedback and goal setting. We were also helped to understand that people learn in different ways and at different rates and that an individual approach is needed.
We were provided with a resource pack full of teaching tips and log books to record our progress and that of our students. There is also access to a lot of teaching resources on line. All that I need now is a student! I am looking forward to starting to teach a new student from the start although it is quite a daunting thought. Thankfully, each of us new student teachers have a mentor to help and support us along the way and to help us resolve any issues that may arise.”
The following was contributed by one of the mentors, who makes some interesting points that more experienced teachers perhaps take for granted: “I attended the ITTS module 1 course with an open mind having trained many ringers over the last 35 years. Basically I had always followed the approach used to train me (which fortunately was very sound) adjusted in more recent times with hints and tips found on the web and feedback from recruits. The course fortunately didn’t provide any startling revelations that I had been wrong all these years but did give some useful hints and tips particularly about breaking elements down into the smallest possible steps to help the trainee avoid over load.
As an already experienced teacher it was interesting to hear some of the fears of those who had never taught. It is very easy to forget how frightening it was to first hand a rope to somebody and let them pull it and the approaches suggested by Frank considerably reduce the risks of the traditional start of first letting a trainee pull a backstroke. I was therefore surprised that having spent the morning talking and practising teaching with a bell which was initially down the afternoon started with a session on ringing up and down. Personally I felt this session offered little and might have been more usefully replaced with longer on analysing common faults, ensuring would be teachers did not themselves have handling faults and possibly a bit of theory and discussion on obtaining recruits. Overall though it was a very useful day which I would encourage all existing and aspiring teachers to attend.”
Richard Booth, Tower Captain, Marsworth
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.