I, along with 11 other ‘students’, all of us from the Maidstone District, attended the Module 1 Teaching Course held at Yalding today, led by ART Course Tutor, Moira. I was impressed by the ART method of learning to ring from the outset – start with the bell down! ‘Ringing up and down’ was integrated into the initial bell handling so it was ‘second nature’ from the start. The words ‘move the bell’ were substituted for ‘pull the bell’ which ensures safety for both the bell and the ringer – no hard and unnecessary ‘yanking’! We went through all the steps of bell handling, supporting each other with constructive criticism and praise where due. The majority of us discovered we had ‘faults’ in our bell handling (mine: not ‘moving the rope all the way down through’ and a ‘floating hand’) and we learned how to correct these minor faults. The use of handcuffs to keep the hands together was mentioned, and caused some interesting speculation, but it turned out these are ones made from Velcro and strictly for use in the ringing room to improve bell control! How to hand the bell rope to another at a safe point whilst ringing was another lesson, and this turned into a kind of relay race, which was quite fun!
All in all, a very instructive day and I now feel confident that I could instruct a beginner in learning how to handle a bell safely, both for them and me. The fact that all of us on this Teaching Course were from the Maidstone District will enable us to easily take part in shared teaching between towers.
At the end of the day Moira got us to ring ‘left handed’ if we rang ‘right handed’ and vice versa. This was very difficult and the handling and rounds were terrible (apart from one ambidextrous ringer who had no problem!). The object was to remind us what it was like to be a ‘beginner’ – a salutary lesson!
We thank our tutor, Moira, who left her home in Derbyshire at 5.30 am today to travel south to Yalding and remained bright and cheerful all day, despite the prospect of driving all the way back home tonight – thank you Moira for a very instructive and enjoyable day!
Thanks also to Richard Young for hosting the Event and providing the excellent refreshments. We were especially impressed by the delicious cake which he had made himself!