I arrived at St Peter’s Kineton, Warwickshire on a cold and wet Saturday morning. Kineton is an ART (Association of Ringing Teachers) teaching centre; in fact, it is the home tower of Graham Nabb, the Chair of ART itself.
Seven delegates attended this event, coming from as far afield as Essex and Wiltshire, several having many years’ ringing experience.
The aims of the course are to cover the teaching of key skills from Rounds through Plain Hunt (Foundation) to learning doubles and minor methods (Change Ringer).
The course, led by Graham, comprised a number of slides covering topics including:
- Challenges facing ringers and towers today
- How people learn
- The importance of combining theory, handling with practicing methods and having fun.
- Building an effective ringing team, including the importance of identifying and reviewing achievable objectives
- Placing the team for practice and service ringing.
- Duties of a tower captain and the importance of delegating key roles
- Health and Safety and Safeguarding
The theory sessions were interleaved with very useful and fun practical sessions. These included:
- Practicing rounds and leading using hand bells. Practicing whole pull and stand, then moving to next bell.
- Foundation skills, including standing the bell at hand and back stroke (Twinkle Twinkle little star, whole pull and stand, ring for n blows and stand, ring alternate hand and back stroke), turning while at back stroke, handing over rope to neighbour at hand stroke, switching hands on sally and tail end.
- Kaleidoscope ringing, Mexican Wave, call changes by places, dodge and change at each call
- Plain hunt on 3 – 6 bells, starting on back as well as hand stroke
- Techniques for those standing behind learners to encourage timely and correct striking, as well as the need to understand place and providing timely, specific and positive feedback.
- Mini-methods such as Cloister Doubles, Bastow Little bob and Churchyard bob to develop Plain Hunt skills
- Mini-touches of Plain Bob Doubles and Plain Bob Minor to encourage learners to treble and ring inside without the need to dodge
- Original Minor, developing the Band’s awareness of place and reaction to bobs and singles called.
- Touch of Grandsire Doubles with four consecutive singles, aka Reverse St Bartholemews Doubles.
All in all, this is an excellent course, which has given me many ideas to put into practice at my next ringing practices. I would thoroughly recommend the ART ringing scheme to any ringing learner or teacher as a structured, graded programme that breaks down handling and ringing techniques into smaller elements, enabling the student to progress. Learners and teachers are well supported through a comprehensive set of learning and teaching resources.
The ART teaching modules comprise Module 1 (handling), Module 2F (Foundation – Rounds to Plain Hunt) and Module 2C (Methods).