On a very sunny Saturday morning 6 ringers turned up at Stretham churchto learn about the next step in teaching ringers after bell-handling. The course was ably led by David Sparling (ART Tutor) with assistance from Lesley Boyle (ART Tutor) and Dee Smith (ART Assessor).
Welcomes were made over coffee and then the attendees settled down in the ‘school room’ part of the church to start the course. David gave a brief explanation of how the Association of Ringing Teachers have developed these courses over the last few years with the aim to give ideas and activities for all ringing teachers to try out, whether new to teaching or with many years of experience. It was agreed that the more experienced ringers could not actually remember how they learnt Plain Hunt, but were probably just told what to do. The main concern at this stage, after a learner has learnt to handle a bell and starts to ring with others, is that they often feel they are making no progress and give up.
For the next session the attendees moved up to the ringing chamber, where some of them had their first experience of the excellent facilities at Stretham. With the tied bells raised and simulator on, David demonstrated ways to help ringers improve their bell control and make the first steps towards ringing call changes. Activities such as ‘Kit Kat’, following opposite strokes (to give a ringer experience of leading, but without being the ‘treble’ bell) were explained and practised. Lesley was able to show her prowess at conducting Twinkle, Twinkle!
After morning coffee new ways to call changes were shown and the Call Change domino game was played (see picture) and as activity for ringers to try out when not ringing.
All these activities were fun to try, and it did not matter if any ringers made mistakes. More experienced ringers have been known to really struggle with ‘Mexican Wave’ and several agreed it showed them how a new ringer must feel when faced with all the ringing jargon they quickly need to comprehend and act upon.
An enjoyable lunch at the local pub it was straight back to the ringing chamber where Dee and Lesley became some ‘less experienced’ ringers with some interesting faults with their ringing. Scenarios were provided and the attendees practised in groups how to plan out a ringing session and arrange who rang when and with what bell to allow new ringers to make good progress. Alongside this, positive feedback skills were shown and practised.
At the end of the course the attendees said how they have thoroughly enjoyed the day and were looking forward to going back to their towers and trying out the several different activities. All felt confident that with practise they could support ringers in their tower to make progress from ringing rounds to call changes and beyond.
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