On a very grotty January weather day, 12 ringers met at the beautiful victorian church of St Martin in Bryanston for a full day of learning, teaching and sharing. The course was organised by the Dorset County Association (DCA) training officer Jane Pridmore as part of year-long celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary since the founding of the DCA, and also to give local ringers a chance to develop their teaching skills, it being three years since an ART Module 2 was last held in Dorset.
As Ringing Master of East Dorset, which Bryanston comes under, I was invited by Jane to take part in the course as a student. We arrived in good time to find lots of people already in the church warming up with tea and coffee. The tutor was Paul Lewis from Shropshire and once we all arrived, he wasted no time in introducing himself to everyone – a friendly face was helpful to calm some nerves!
The day started with a short presentation about ART and what the structure of the day would look like, followed by a presentation on teasing out the appropriate foundation skills in ringing. After this we moved to the ringing chamber for the first session of ringing. These practical sessions, of which there were two in the morning and two in the afternoon, were expertly overseen by Paul who did a mixture of describing good teaching tools, allowing others to share their experiences and then giving everyone a chance to practice these tools on the rope, which was a really nice way of bringing the group together. Paul was patient, friendly and clear when explaining, and also welcomed ideas and input from the students. Soon it was time for lunch, which Jane and her husband Nigel had diligently prepared; the warm soup and tasty cake were much appreciated!
The afternoon was in a similar format, with two practical sessions and two theory presentations, this time discussing how to bring on a ringing band and more about taking learners on to Plain Hunt. Lots of ideas were shared to the benefit of all, including Paul – it’s really positive to see the tutor gaining ideas as well as the students, as that makes it feel more inclusive. At the end of the day we had a final presentation on ART accreditation to wrap everything up, and then went back out in to the wild Dorset weather with many new ideas, tools and friends to help us teach. Thanks for a great day and here’s to taking the teaching forward with practice.