• Simon Linford
    152
    Level 1 - Bell Handling
    Level 2 - Foundation Skill (call changes, kaleidoscope, general bell control)
    Level 3 - Plain Hunt
    Level 4 - Bob or Grandsire Doubles
    Level 5 - Bob MInor
    There can be a bit of an overlap in 4 and 5
    We had someone complete Level 5 yesterday with their first quarter of Bob MInor inside
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    It took me a few clicks to find it:

    http://www.learningtheropes.org/scheme/learning-the-ropes

    Then click on "Learn more" under each level.
  • John de Overa
    72
    Why do we persist in this way? I think that for those who are doing the teaching it is the way they learnt and how, in decades past, they taughtA J Barnfield

    I think that's a common issue. Many teachers only know how they learned, and if that doesn't work for someone they are teaching, things immediately stall. An example: I asked what I needed to do to get ropesight. "Watch how all the bells come down in order" was the answer, to which I replied "I can't" which was met by a look of blank incomprehension. There are other ways of achieving the same effect but I had to figure them out myself. That shouldn't have been the case.

    I think the penny that needs to drop is that, as a generality, a different approach is needed for older folk with much smaller steps and much more rope time. And an acceptance that some would best stick to call changes.A J Barnfield

    Yes, and a toolkit of different approaches so if one thing doesn't another one might. ART is great at codifying that in the early stages, later on it just seems to be left up to the individual teacher.
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    At the handful of towers of my acquaintance I am aware of three of the current ringers who have attended an ART teachers course other that that ART does not seem to figure in any of the teaching and unless they are doing it and I am not noticing Learning The Ropes is not used. So we don't get anywhere near wondering about the strengths and weaknesses of the ART approach.
  • Peter Sotheran
    32
    Thanks Simon. By pure coincidence, that accords with the steps on the 'progress' wall charts I designed for our tower some years ago. They were initially intended to help me keep track of which stage each learner had mastered but with the younger learners they developed into a bit of a spur to encourage them to aim the next step.
    Attachment
    Progress charts - set of 3 (32K)
  • John de Overa
    72
    I've been on the Module 1 (bell handling) course, have used it to teach 2 people (until COVID interrupted) and found it very helpful, as did the learners who appreciated the structured and stepwise approach. I've watched TCs at a couple of towers "teaching" ringing up "the old school; way" and it was frankly terrifying, both for the learner and the rest of us stood by watching...

    If ART is being used should be reasonably obvious as the learners should have been given log books, which are filled in as they progress.
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    No sign of any log books or certificates. Locally I would say that the Level 1 equivalent is ok, Level 2 equivalent is being skated over bringing problems at attempts at method ringing. Couple with that the problem in assembling strong supporting bands the result is slow progress and a lot of wasted training time.
  • John de Overa
    72
    From my own painful progress I'd agree with that, none of my skills were up to the challenges of method ringing, and I had to go fix that myself, ringing solo on a tower simulator. Learners ringing in a poor band just generates more poor ringers, and many bands who are teaching learners are poor.
  • Simon Linford
    152
    I think Level 2 is one of the critical aspects of Learn the Ropes that makes progress beyond that point more achievable. The exercises introduced are so useful and I know there are bands who have been introduced to things like Kaleidoscope ringing who end up doing it for its own sake. These things were not invented by ART - Kaleidoscope ringing was introduced by Gordon Lucas and a CC book was published way back in 2004. ART just emphasises their importance by making them a step on the journey.
  • Peter Sotheran
    32
    "Yes, and a toolkit of different approaches so if one thing doesn't another one might. - John de O"

    This was the very reason I enrolled myself on a level 2 tutor course - specifically to hear how other people explained things. Often a different form of words in an explanation will enable a learner to see a light in the hazy distance. I also came to appreciate the need for smaller steps when teaching older learners.
  • Simon Linford
    152
    "Is there any how to material [on Devon CCs] available"

    I have started wrting it. Just tested Covid positive so I have a bit more spare time. I am going to do it in Blog/ebook format. This is not writing from a position of expertise, but from someone who thinks it is worth doing and has recently taken it up.
  • John de Overa
    72
    Sorry to hear you are ill, hope it's mild!

    Looking forward to the Devon CC writeup though :-)
  • Paul Wotton
    9
    Having taken on the role of to chair the CCCBR Volunteering and Leadership (V&L) Workgroup on an interim basis until a new Workgroup leader is appointed, I have been following this discussion with interest. What has been said will feed into my thinking about how the stated activities of the V&L on the CCCBR website can be progressed. Please keep the contributions coming.

    In addition to reading what’s on this forum and see what’s in the Ringing World, I also subscribe to the New Statesman, the following passage from this week’s edition stuck me as having parallels with the where we are with Median Ringers. In particular, the final clause.

    “When Mr Johnson declared in his Tory conference speech last year that “We are not going back to the same broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills and low productivity”, his diagnostics of Britain’s economic defects was correct. But, as was the case under his predecessor, Theresa May, analysis has not been equalled by prescription.”

    We have broad consensus on the problem; now we need answers.
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    Too may people have got too much financial investment in the existing economic model for it to change. Too many ringers have got too much emotional investment in the existing ringing organisational model for it to change.
  • Roger Booth
    19
    Although Gordon Lucas published his book in 2004, dodging and place making exercises are included in the 'One per Learner' books first published by the late Pam Copson in 1982. Kaleidoscope is just a development of this. There are also a number of other bell control exercises common to the OPL 'Bell Club Awards' and ART's 'Learning the Ropes' scheme.
  • Roger Booth
    19
    I think the problem is that the gap between the top and bottom ends of ringing has widened significantly during my 50 year ringing career. There is now a 'squeezed middle' which makes it difficult for many to progress up the ladder or pyramid beyond LtR3, unless you happen to be lucky enough to ring at one of those towers with a competent band.

    The fragmented communication structure of the exercise and a number of individuals who hold positions of influence and resist change (and who have been in post a long time), also makes it difficult to address current issues and move forward. We need more new leaders but with the squeezed middle there are few candidates willing to come forward.

    There was a comprehensive survey of the state of ringing in 1988 which if replicated today would help move the debate forward. Although some work was also undertaken in the early 2000's which helps identify what towers ring on practice night (if they hold one) and confirms that a large number of bands do not ring much more than PB and Grandsire, it's a shame that a more comprehensive survey has not been undertaken, especially as modern technology makes this far easier than 1988.

    e958s568c792uosq.jpg
    2004 Survey

    awu7g4woblgqcbie.jpg
    1988 Survey extract
  • Simon Linford
    152
    I expect we could do such a survey again if there was the will. I think it was Hayley in Truro who recently quoted the "If you can count it you can manage it" maxim. There is a temptation to think there is no point doing such a survey because we know what it will tell us, but it would also provide a benchmark against which to measure progress if there was a will to change.

    Some associations have done such surveys recently. I know Kent did one, and the results were worse than they expected - worse as in the level of ringing was less than had been believed. Maybe if Phil Barnes is reading he could comment.

    This sort of survey needs to get to the places that surveys don't reach. People would need to take responsibility for answering on behalf of towers which might not answer, along with some process for making sure towers were not covered twice. It could be done at the branch/district level. It could easily collect all the data online.

    As we (Roger and I in particular on behalf of the CC) are currently working on an HLF bid which will look to take ringing to new audiences, this sort of starting point research would be very valuable.
  • John de Overa
    72
    those first two brief paragraphs of yours are one of the most concise and precise summaries of the problems I've seen.

    What's immensely frustrating, speaking as one of the "squeezed middle", is that at the CC level the issues seem very well understood but they don't really have the ability to deliver the required changes. And the level that should be doing so (territorial associations) the problem is either not recognised, ignored or the efforts to address it are pathetically inadequate. I've long thought that territorial associations are an anachronism that's long outlived their usefulness, in many cases they seem to be not much more than closed shops for existing method ringers. I don't think they can be "fixed" and should just be left to rot.

    There is already a mechanism in place that mostly bypasses the territorial associations - ART. But as I've said before, whilst it works well at the lower levels it doesn't have what's needed to effectively transition people into method ringing, because it is focused on the individual learner, teacher & tower, and that's not sufficient for teaching method ringing. There was talk some time ago of "ART Hubs" but I'm not sure what, if anything, became of that.
  • Graham John
    73
    Rather than a one off survey to get stats, a better answer would be to provide a database that is populated at any time using an online questionnaire, and which anyone could submit on behalf of a tower. Each submission would be dated, so change over time could be assessed by querying the database over different time intervals. It would still provide valuable data even while it is being gathered, and associations could be encouraged to populate data for towers for which there was no data, or hadn't had an updated entry recently.

    As a bonus, historic data from previous surveys at either local or national level could be input.
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    ART has been excellent at providing a curriculum and training teachers. But we are still woefully short of schools for the teachers to teach in and the learners to learn in. I believe that there are some ART hubs and schools going but nothing like enough. They should be the norm for training and development rather than an unusual exception. Whilst there is some enlightenment most of the thinking and organising is still rather 19th century. The ideas are there; it is getting people to adopt them is the issue.
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    Sounds like a plan. Regular updates in the RW showing compliance for each association in keeping the details fully up to date might provide an incentive. Without some sort of moral pressure many will not bother.
    Data, data, data should be the mantra; comprehensive and up to date. This has to be the starting point. We are flying blind without it.
  • Roger Booth
    19
    I like Graham John's suggestion. Some form of CCCBR template for societies to use would enable them to conduct (and update) local surveys of the state of ringing in their area, and perhaps put an action plan together. There would also be consistency between the data. Is this something that Paul Wotton and the V&L Group could organise?

    I think we have a reasonable consensus on the the number of ringers, the demographic profile, what methods are rung at practices and on Sunday, the numbers of silent towers and struggling bands, and where this is all leading us. However the 1988 survey (http://bellringing.co.uk/1988%20survey.pdf) included a whole lot more information which if updated would help Guilds and Associations and Districts and Branches and the CCCBR to do something to address the trends.

    • The relationship between ringers and the church (today Evangelical churches are in the ascendancy and we need to understand the impact of this)
    • Teaching the art - tower captains
    • Recruitment and retention rates
    • Publications (today things are much different and we are heading for everything to be on line)
    • Ringing courses - preferred topics
    • Effectiveness of Guilds and Associations
    • Grass roots - how Districts and Branches are regarded by their members
    • Care of bells (besides restoration, ought to include how welcoming the ringing environment is)
    • Regional variations
    • Effect of settlement size
    • Sociological profile (today would include BME participation and inclusivity data and relate this to the local community)
    • Itinerant bands (today would include clusters, hubs etc)
    • The Ringing World (today would include various forms of communication)

    We need to be clear that we are not undertaking a census. A 10% sample, as in 1988, or less would be adequate, provided that participants were chosen at random. There are statistical techniques for verifying randomness.

    Also one large survey form as in 1988 would take too long for participants to complete. A suite of more focused on-line surveys would be better, and this would enable them to be developed and issued over time, rather than have to wait.
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    I am not convinced that we do necessarily have a good enough grip on basic data such as the number of active ringers, what is rung, and the age profile. A detailed breakdown of the over 60 age profile, a detailed breakdown of the age profile of those ringing peals and quarters above ART level 5, and detailed information of geographical differences would be interesting. Our impressions of how things are might well be right but it would be good to have them confirmed and kept up to date.

    We also need to get a good idea of ringers' hopes, dreams and wishes. Any proposals for the future have to match with reality. You can't expect ringers in their 70s and 80s to behave as if they were 50 years younger.
  • John Harrison
    92
    I don't want to behave like I did 50 years ago, that was during the period when I hardly ever rang and life was full of other things.
  • Roger Booth
    19
    I am sure that everyone will want to collect the basic data anyway, the point that I was making was that it was all the other stuff in the 1988 survey which is very interesting and will provoke debate on how things have changed and what we need to do going forward.

    However I think we do need to be careful to define what is meant by an 'active' ringer. We may have 30,000 or possibly even 40,000 'ringers', but how often do they ring? From my experience I suspect that there are quite a few 'ringers' listed in annual reports, who have their membership paid for them, even though that have been living in a care home for a year or more. At the other extreme is someone who has had a few handling lessons, or someone who hasn't come for a couple of months, to be counted in the overall total?
  • Simon Linford
    152
    I don't want to divert this very interesting discussion - I too like Graham John's idea. it's just an aside to say that we are currently consulting on changing the way in which societies pay their CC affiliation fees to be based on membership numbers rather than numbers of reps. The total number of members reported last year was about 37,000, including 1700 from the Veronese and some overlap (e.g. ASCY and SRCY). I imagine if there is a financial incentive to count actually active ringers the number will suddenly get very realistic, and a lot lower!
  • A J Barnfield
    127
    Realistic numbers would be helpful. There are incentives to keeping inactive ringers on the books. One is the number of CC reps that can be sent to the annual bash. If it were one rep per association that incentive would disappear. Another is the loss of subs (some towers pay members subs which keeps income going).
  • John Harrison
    92
    a survey we did in 2017 came up with 30% of members who never or rarely ring, see: http://www.odg.org.uk/sdb/documents/minutes_reports/Results6.pdf
    In most cases I don't think it was people having their subs paid, after all £8 per year is small change for most people who like to think they still belong.
  • John Harrison
    92
    realistic numbers would be a good thing surely, because an affiliation fee set to provide the required income would be more secure if the rate was based on real numbers rather than fictitious numbers that might evaporate.
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