Great Expectations

When we return to #bellringing, some ringers may have different expectations of their ability to what is the reality.  Some have had over a year now of not ringing a bell, or not ringing with others.  The physical and mental agility required, muscle memory, will have lapsed.

We are encouraged to make an assessment of our band to see what it might look like.  Some people may not return at all, some may decide to ring less often, some may be super keen to be back on the end of a rope.  We need to take stock of who is coming back, who is not and what their current ability is rather than their former ability.

Things to take into account would be individuals’ attitudes to risk and safety: age, health, vaccinated or not, current legislation, physical fitness, recalling methods.  This will create new dynamics in the ringing room with a mismatch of ability and knowledge.  This could lead to demotivation and demoralisation.

The brain processes different types of memories:

  • procedural i.e. swimming, something complex and likely to stay in the memory longer as it took longer to learn;
  • decorative memories are simpler, fact that have been learned but easier to forget.

The more experienced ringer would find it easier to return, but this is not the same for newer learners who haven’t clocked up the rope time prior to lockdown.

Overtime we forget things.  Scientific studies have proven that over the course of half a day we are likely to have forgotten about 20% of what we’ve just learned.  After about five days, we are likely to only be able to remember around 15%.  It is therefore key to have regular recapping sessions that will help retain more.

We can identify if someone has learnt something through questioning, observation, digging deeper to understand, but should allow time to think and recall answers. 

This discussion suggested ways to support individual learning with bell control exercises, setting the bell on command, whole pull and stand etc.  With groups peer support for both teachers and learners is invaluable, as is the social network.  Exercises that support listening skills, developing rope sight could include mini striking competitions, recording the ringing and giving feedback, getting the learner to call the call changes so they know what’s coming up, standing behind, covering,

It is important to take small steps when we get back in the tower but important to:

  • make it enjoyable and satisfying;
  • take small management steps;
  • encourage;
  • provide opportunities.

This session tended to focus more on learners and teaching foundations skills but didn’t really do into much detail about how to manage expectations of more experienced bands. Some will think that they are able to get straight into complex method ringing, and may not realise that others, or even themselves, need a bit more time getting used to things again. 

Ringing quarter peals and peals is also going to take some time to get back into the swing of.  The longest C and I have rung during our Sunday morning ding and dong sessions is about five minutes each time. To ring a whole course of Surprise Maximus takes about 20 minutes, and on heavy bells that you’re not used to ringing any longer, would probably be enough to do someone in for the rest of the evening.

Slow and steady wins the race.


One thought on “Great Expectations

  1. 🐢 Absolutely. I’ll be happy to ring rounds at first and try to be patient until all skill levels increase 🔔👍


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