This course was organised by the the Wrexham and Maelor Branch of the North Wales Association of Church Bell Ringers. There were 15 attendees, 11 from the branch, 3 from the Gwynedd Branch and one from outside the Association. The Course leader was Graham Nabb.
For those who have been bell ringing from an early the age and are now a little older., it’s very evident that Chinese Whispers have crept in with regards to how bell ringing has been taught; “This is how I was taught (or I think it was taught) so here you go”. As a result, poor bell handling techniques have been/are being passed on.
The course explains a framework to ensure that new bell ringers are taught in a manner that ensures a consistent approach.
I think it’s fair to say that the fifteen ringers from the North Wales Association of Church Bell Ringers who attended the course all gained from the course. Attendees included the Association’s Ringing Master, the Deputy Ringing Master of the Wrexham Branch, tower captains and other ringers who want to improve the quality of full circle ringing.
The structure of the course was excellent and was an appropriate blend of theory and practical sessions. The sessions covered how to teach a skilled activity (comparing what we do to other physical hobbies), how to teach bell ringing from day one (getting the new bell ringer comfortable with taming a bit of metal the weight of a car with floppy piece of rope whilst using appropriate terminology), and how to correct poor handling (useful for correcting the bell handling of those who did peals with Fabian Stedman).
The ITTS programme is not an ‘attend a course and get a certificate’ course (in fact you don’t even get an attendance certificate, as you normally get to prove you’ve been on a course of learning). As a teacher you will need to demonstrate that you can teach in accordance with the ART programme. Teachers will be supported by a mentor and your learning assessed by a moderating mentor.
The programme should ensure that people new to bell ringing get a consistent learning experience; hoping that they will pass on their good experience to others, so slowly increasing the numbers and competence of bell ringers.
Graham Nabb delivered an excellent course and was able to relate to experiences those on the course had encountered. Having heard of practices of teachers tying learners’ hands together, hopefully we can eradicate these methods (especially thinking about safeguarding, which Graham covered). The ITTS Module 1 course is a must for anyone who has a passion for ensuring the future of bell ringing.
Gordon Richardson, Tower Captain – St Mary’s, Ruabon
Considering circa £300 was paid to ART only time will tell if this was money well spent. In three years’ time it will be interesting to see how many teachers follow through the accreditation programme; and how many more members the Association will have.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.