In every edition of Tower Talk we meet a teacher/learner duo and find out what their special chemistry is, but this time we pop down south to meet a threesome from Thornham Magna, Suffolk – Zoe Wright and her daughter Carmen, who have been taught to ring by accredited teacher Sylvie Fawcett. Carmen and Zoe have both recently achieved their Level 4, and just look at their special certificate!
Sylvie was certainly feeling very brave when she took on two new learners: two very different learning styles, and a mother and daughter to boot, but she has without a doubt demonstrated that the LtR pathway is a really strong method (no pun intended!) of teaching total beginners to become confident and knowledgeable ringers. Sylvie has been unflappable in her pursuit of our success, every next stage carefully planned and rolled out during practices, and it is probably only now, almost four years later, that I can see how all those little pieces have come together to build up a bigger picture. She has also been key in encouraging us to be confident in going to new towers and meeting other ringers, not missing out on any opportunity to ring, and above all, learning as much as you can from other ringers. I won’t deny that at times it has been incredibly frustrating; my handling remains a constant sore point (whereas my daughter very irritatingly has near-perfect handling!) and there have been weeks where I have totally felt
like throwing in the towel, but Sylvie has always been there to keep spirits up and remind me that PRACTICE!!! is the key.
Sylvie is an excellent teacher and she has helped me get to grips with the handling of the ropes. She has also given me the courage to do different methods without the fear of making mistakes. Without Sylvie, I don’t think I would now be able to do Reverse Canterbury because I have learnt it with a variety of people when I go to different places to practise it.
As there was no teacher at our tower and I am only tower captain by default, it was suggested that I should attend an ART Module 1 day course. I was at once attracted to the common sense of the teaching method and embarked on my teaching adventure with brave Zoe and her nine year old daughter, Carmen. They knew they were my first pupils, and that summer I went up and down the tower a lot, tying the clappers before every session with them. Teaching handling has been very beneficial for me, who hadn’t really been taught much myself, so I have learnt a lot. Then I did Module 2 and we had fun (well, I did!) introducing new exercises, surprisingly not
always easily rung by the most experienced ringers, but this has also had a beneficial effect on
the rest of the band and helping Zoe and Carmen has kept us all motivated.
I am very lucky. Zoe and Carmen have been the perfect pupils: enthusiastic, trying everything
suggested, ringing for all events and having a very good sense of humour which is really needed
in a tower. They both passed Level 4 recently and Zoe has become tower captain of Yaxley,
where she lives. They continue to work their way through the LtR booklet and we are planning
their next quarter peal of Reverse Canterbury in February.