Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

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Teaching Pages

Development:
Teaching - Overview

Teaching notes re: change ringing on handbells

This page captures what we learned, sometimes the hard way, on the Hull handbells project. We hope it helps you along to becoming change ringers.

Selecting Learners

Some teachers advise that a selection process should be used and people with poor natural rhythm should not be taught, or if they are a lot of effort is applied to improving their rhythm. Our experience in Hull is that (older) learners will rapidly decide either to stay the course or gracefully discontinue.

Teaching Style

On the one hand, a teaching style of "tell, show, and sell" can work, on the other a teaching style of "raise their curiosity and they will teach themselves" can be valid.

A good teacher needs quickly to be able to assess what style will produce the best result.

Irrespective of previous experience, learners need to adopt a habit of "doing their homework" before the next practise session. And testing the quality of the homework might be valid

Teaching and Learning Methods - Principle

Whatever stage a learner is at, the detail needs correctly to be in the learner's head, otherwise it will not come out correctly on the bells. This principle applies to both the teacher and the learner. The mental skill of knowing and correctly memorising in which places a pair of bells is to be rung absolutely precedes picking up the bells.

Teaching and Learning Rhythm

There seems to be three grades of rhythmic ability:

  • Natural excellence
  • Good but with challenges
  • Struggler

People who have reasonable rhythm will normally make good handbell ringers, they just need lots of practice.

People who struggle need a lot of encouragement; however, it is important not to make the problem worse by imprinting early habits.

The learning process is not static, getting going by learning the pair-spacing is valuable, but continuing to ring by spacing as more complex methods are tackled leads to "fried brain syndrome". One solution to this is to ring fast enough for the sub-conscious brain to switch in and take control; this needs to be coupled with intensive listening and extensive practice.

This step is vital to release the mental capacity for the further skills such as tracking the treble and ringing by method structure.


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