Teaching Learners at your Tower
There is a wealth of resource available to help you explain bell ringing to learners – some of which is available on this site. Before you start there are some important areas that you need to be aware of and provide information on. These include:
Training the Trainers
Teaching is almost always provided by the Tower Captain aided by other experienced ringers within the learner’s home tower. These teachers must comply with relevant child protection and insurance regulations. Various training schemes and training aids are now available, facilitating the sharing of best practice and allowing the interaction with younger ringers using their media of choice (such as mobile phones and the internet.) Some very good teachers have developed without formal training but most find it beneficial to learn from the experience of others, either by attending courses or by being mentored by an experienced trainer, and ideally both.
The integrated teacher training scheme (ITTS) consists of two modules:
The modules are complemented by the Learning the Ropes, a student learning scheme. Feedback and key learnings have been collected from branch members who have taken part in the courses and posted on this website.
The ODG Training Officer (not his official title) is always willing to give advice or help with training courses. The current incumbent, John Harrison, has run over 30 listening courses, one of whose objectives is to help teachers learn how to teach listening skills.
If you’re looking for new ideas or have a learner with an unusual problem, then there are various blogs and articles on the internet about teaching people to ring, including:
There is a wealth of material on the internet and some very useful videos.
There is a lot of new thinking around about how to teach people to ring. This thinking recognises that the learners of today have different expectations to those found when the majority of teachers learned to ring. Youngsters have many more opportunities available to them and bell ringing must compete to keep them interested. Conversely there are also many more adult learners who often need the stages of ringing broken down into smaller bite-sized chunks in order to not get frustrated, embarrassed and disillusioned. To find out more see The Stages of Learning to Ring.
The world’s first purpose-built Teaching Centre is housed in the Clock Room of Worcester Cathedral. It is a unique resource available for everyone to use, so why not include it in a tower outing?
The branch has ringing simulators installed at Newport Pagnell and Olney. For a review of the use of ringing simulators in teaching people to ring, you could try John Harrison’s guide.
The listening skills required to facilitate good striking can be developed using Strike!, a software programme that introduces ringing errors into simulated ringing. Examples of (deliberately) poor ringing are available for study and discussion.
Software to help method learning is available:
- Able, Mabel and Mobel – allows ringers to practice call changes, plain hunt, methods and touches on one or two bells.
- Beltower – allows ringers to practice ringing and calling. Striking is monitored and random striking and method errors can be added to test listening and conducting skills.
For the ringer on the move there are various phone apps which more and more people are using in the tower.
The Guild has published a more comprehensive review of the use of training aids.
Training & Development Fund
The Branch’s Training & Development Fund provides support for the improvement of ringing at all levels – up to 50% of the cost of the training course can be claimed with a maximum of £50. Opportunities for learning present themselves in many ways. They range from large, well organised ventures like The Big Ring Pull to small local activities. Activities that qualify for support are:
- Attendance at courses arranged by the Oxford Diocesan Guild, the North Bucks Branch or any other ringing organisation.
- Resources that support the recruitment of ringers and teaching of ringing in North Bucks such as booklets, handouts etc.
If you are considering the purchase of infrastructure in support of training (e.g. the installation of a simulator) this is felt to be be a hardware rather than a training project. So, while this fund does not specifically cover the purchase of simulator equipment, the Branch would always consider an application for a grant.
Large Recruitment Events
In 2012 North Bucks Branch ran The Big Ring Pull a large-scale recruitment and training project. It was successful in recruiting and training 35 new ringers of whom:
- 12 have now stopped ringing – probably all at the rounds and call changes stage
- 8 are ringing Rounds and Call changes
- 11 are ringing the treble to methods
- 4 are ringing methods inside
Overall 57% of the new ringers are still ringing, after almost two years.
A Central Council case study of the project was published in April 2014.
If you are interested in replicating The Big Ring Pull in your area then please contact the secretary for additional information.