Clyde Whittaker, as a Training Rep for the N&E district, organised a day with Pip Penney of the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) to introduce the Learn the Ropes scheme and the Module 1 techniques for teaching bell handling to a number of N&E officers and interested others.
The day was hosted at St Margaret's, Uxbridge which is well equipped with a comfortable training room as well as tied bells for the handling practicals. Whilst Pip traveled from South Wales many of us took just as long to cross London for the 9:30 start and maximised the opportunity to learn new techniques for the day.
I had previously attended the Module 1 learning to teach bell handling course so was interested to see how this version, devised to promote thought in the N&E officers, would compare but we covered essentially the same syllabus with a mixture of presentation and practical.
The presentations focused on how people learn, what teachers of bell handling can learn from sports coaching techniques and how the way we learnt won't necessarily work for all learners.
Explaining proven techniques like whole - part - whole as just as useful for bell ringing as creating champion cyclists and considering the difference between teaching an auditory and visual learner made it clear that academic rigour has been applied to create the teacher training scheme promoted by ART.
Having the opportunity to practise exercises like teaching shadowing the hand movement from tail end to handstroke or keeping control of the handstroke whilst supporting your learner to take in rope to ring down gave us an opportunity to check our own ability to explain a task, observe and give feedback effectively. Whilst some attendees had been teaching bell handling for many years some of us have never taught this first step but everyone learnt something new from the course which can be applied with learners (or just those with awkward handling habits).
We concluded the day by agreeing that we'd like to use the Learn the Ropes scheme on the Summer School and Handling Master-classes planned for this year as well as in many of our individual towers.
Pip's enthusiasm for applying thought through techniques to address a learners needs and the thoroughness of the Learn the Ropes scheme provided confidence that adoption would support us in developing happy and well prepared learners.
If you would like to know more about ART courses and techniques they have a website but you can ask anyone of the N&E officers and particularly Clyde in his Training Rep role.
With thanks to Clyde Whittaker for organising, Alan Rix for hosting and Pip Penney for leading the day.
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