“Many thanks for an excellent course. We all learned a great deal and are most grateful to you for the positive, encouraging way you allayed our nerves and fears”
“Very inspiring and informative, now I need some new ringers”
“Thank you for a very useful course. It helped me having watched an ART Teacher over the last 6 months, as today’s course made a lot more sense”
“May I say how much I enjoyed the course. I feel it has given more confidence to start training someone to ring bells”
These were some of the comments received following an Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) Module 1 course in teaching bell-handling held at St Laurence in Thanet last Saturday.
Ten delegates attended and were taken through the process of teaching each stroke individually and then putting them both together, as well as teaching how to ring a bell up and down, and correcting common handling faults. The ART philosophy is not prescriptive, you can teach from bell up, or bell down, but it is about breaking everything down into small manageable steps. It gives teachers a range of exercises which they can then deploy to suit the needs of each particular pupil – people learn in different ways.
Many new teachers are often nervous about what to do when something goes wrong, so delegates were also shown how to take over a rope safely from a pupil, and how to catch hold of a rope safely when the pupil has let go. This was practiced with the bell only about half way up, and delegates were encouraged to practice this afterwards with another experienced ringer, before they needed to do it for real with a learner.
In one session, delegates were also asked to practice teaching each other to ring left handed. This not only gave them the experience of what it felt like to be a learner again, but also how handling faults can creep back in again when the pupil is having to concentrate on something new.
A one day course does turn someone into a confident and competent teacher, so the delegates now have up to two years to develop their teaching skills under the guidance and support of an experienced teacher (mentor). Once confident, an assessment is carried out by an independent assessor.
The ART Modules are open for anyone to request and attend. Given that there is a significant shortage of Sunday service ringers throughout the country, we believe that it is important to encourage people to teach. You do not need to be a highly skilled red or black zone ringer – that can even be a hindrance as it may have been a long time since you learnt.
The majority of the delegates on this course had only been ringing for about five years. With the right guidance and support most should become competent teachers, helping to maintain Sunday service bands and establish bands at towers which might otherwise be silent.