The Fylde Branch of the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers continues in its mission to reinvigorate local ringing. Our aim is to establish a merry band of capable change ringers in every one of our local towers. Several of our merry, capable ringers want to be merry, capable teachers. Our challenge is to recruit, train, motivate and retain, ringers with the ability to progress and adapt. These ringers will join in with the rest of the band, have fun and carry on ringing.
To give our learners a springboard for their future success as change ringers, we need to be as good as we can be at imparting our knowledge and experience to our learners in ways they can understand easily, assimilate rapidly and enjoy.
We are such enlightened, bright and welcoming folk on the Fylde that talent spotters Graham Nabb and Paul Lewis, buoyed by the success of the ART Module 1 Day Course they delivered to us last year, very kindly suggested that we follow up with a Module 2 Day Course. Waving, not drowning, we staked our claim with eagerness and have just held a Module 2C Day Course, aimed at teaching elementary change ringing. This was delivered merrily and capably by Paul, and we were also delighted to welcome Juliet Cunningham, ART’s new North West Development Co-ordinator from Ambleside, Cumbria.
Paul’s engaging presentations made us think about how to run successful practices and how to run a tower successfully. In a good, learner-oriented practice, every piece of ringing in a session has a purpose that will benefit an identified ringer. The ringing is planned and organised to accomplish its purpose and the practice plan is adapted match the developing capabilities of the people present. In a well-run tower, there is an imaginative and knowledgeable team builder who can plan the development of each individual in the team, distribute roles equitably, motivate through enjoyment and prevent talent from stagnating.
The 45-minute practical sessions in the belfry showed us how to help our learners to develop their practical skills, their sense of rhythm and their ability to pick out detail from the bewildering fog of moving ropes. For learners, the question, “who do I ring after?” looms large at each pull of the rope. As teachers, we need ways to build our learners’ capability, confidence and facility in seeing how the ropes are changing order from one row of the ringing to the next, and to position the bell accurately in the correct place each time the order changes. We practised ways of helping learners to improve the control of their bell, to listen and be aware of their place in the row, to develop the mysterious faculty of ‘ropesight’ and to learn the simplest building blocks of change ringing in very simple ways.
To accomplish these aims, there are several ingenious, useful and entertaining exercises and mini-methods which are not (yet) common currency at our weekly practices, monthly branch meetings and territorial training days. They deserve to be more widely known and adopted. If you want to know what these exercises are, I’m not going to spill the beans here. You will have to attend the course. Ours ended with a touch of Original. Rob Chapman, the Fylde ringer who conducted it shrugged and said “I teach all my ringers to ring Original before they ring methods”.
I call that a touch of originality. Please excuse the pun.
Teaching from Rounds to Methods
Learn how to teach the skills of change ringing.