As temperatures at Gatwick peaked at 31°C and parents up and down the country wondered why the summer had arrived the week that schools had returned, eleven ringers from the local area and the Association Ringing Master were grateful for the air-conditioned luxury of the ringing room at Hailsham Church for our M1 course with David Sparling.
The day went extremely well, with a good mix of classroom learning and practical exercises, with excellent demonstrations and explanations of what we were doing and why we were doing it. The handstroke exercises were particularly well received, as this is the point at which stays are often bumped or broken during the learning process, which can be quite scary for learners and be the point at which they give up. David gave the best lesson I have ever seen on making the first coil when ringing down, which will not only be helpful when teaching, but will also hopefully help me end my own attempts at macrame, which tend to ruin any ringing down in peal I am involved in.
In the classroom there was a good deal of information about best practice when it comes to teaching, including the “whole-part-whole” process of breaking down complex tasks into smaller tasks that can be practiced individually and then combined and also things to keep in mind as to how you speak to and interact with your learner, to both encourage improvement but also not leave them feeling despondent when things don’t go well.
A good range of materials was provided in a folder on the day, including books and help sheets and we have all since received our “SmART Ringer” log ins for the supporting website, which has lots of useful resources for teachers and students.
We are now going to follow the course up with discussions as to how we can potentially pool our resources in the local area to help support teaching for the many small bands across this rural area.
Thanks to everyone involved in organising the event, including of course David Sparling from ART, our District Secretary Marion Hollands, and Christine Baldock and the other ringers at Hailsham for arranging the facilities and refreshments.