It is well known that we take a careful step-by-step approach with our learners. We introduce (as far as is possible) just one new skill at a time – and then practice before moving on to the next. That’s great – and it works.
But life doesn’t always fit like that. Crises occur and decisions have to be taken.
The Kildwick MiniRingers have come to the end of their school year and we’ve been working hard to prepare to ring for the Leaver’s Service. In some ways, it was never going to be a big deal from a ringing point of view – backstrokes only for three at a time with three helpers filling in the blanks on our front six. For these six kids, though, it WAS a big deal. We’ve never rung anything like this; the bells are difficult, with a long draught and high rope guides. And it it was the Big Finale to a tremendous year’s work.
And then it all began to unravel.
One of my helpers dislocated her shoulder (not a ringing incident!). Then one of the leaders called to say that her Mum had been taken to hospital and she was sorry but…
Oh KAY. We’ll ring four, not six. So the two of us got the bells up and I collected six quite excited children from school. But no helpers. They both live very close to the tower, so I wandered (no – trotted!) down. “Oh! I thought it was half past!” (No, Theresa, that’s the service time.) Next door for Gill. “AH! She’s in London today.”
Now was the time to do some serious re-evaluation. It was Gill’s son who answered the door – and he is just learning to ring. I was about to test him for his Level 1 except he’s not really rung rounds much yet (in the lesson plan for that evening). Just three bells was hardly viable, so a firm hand on Richard’s collar; “Come on, you’re ringing!”
I’m delighted to report that it all worked out brilliantly. The rounds weren’t by any stretch great. Richard let his bell down a bit once – but we got it back up again – and towards the end of the half hour he was ringing really extremely well. The children did wonderfully too – and we had a good many congratulations afterwards. We gathered for a photo or two and handed out certificates.
The Kildwick MiniRingers don’t just learn to ring bells. Among other things, they learn to make them as well! They ring handbells and handchimes and they learn to “dance” plain hunting and Bastow on a numbered mat. They are now all enrolled on the LtR course; some will persevere to Level 1 and beyond and others may well drop out. Our end-of-year certificate lists most of their achievments. And one young man seemed to enjoy it!
https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1239590 shows a report of the occasion (and a birdie suggests that it is considered to be fairly “hot” on Bell board!
And after that performance, Richard certainly earned his Level 1 Certificate! We’ll present it at this week’s practice.