We’re always looking for something new and - just as important – helpful to our members when planning District events. After an inspirational visit to the Teaching Centre at Worcester Cathedral last summer we knew we just had to take more people there to see and experience for themselves the wonders of this unique resource. So last weekend nine of us made the relatively easy journey down to Worcester for what proved to be a highly motivating and productive day.
If you’re unfamiliar with the set-up at Worcester, it’s a wonderful environment for up to eight ringers to practise anything from bell handling or just rounds to the most complex method you can think of using dumb bells which are individually linked to laptops running Abel software. This puts the student firmly at the centre of the learning experience. How many of us (teachers and learners alike) have got really demoralised with the constraints of traditional teaching and learning at a weekly practice when there are so many competing demands for rope time? This innovation takes away all pressures like that – even the ghastly spectre of The Broken Stay is dispensed with using a magical device which can be reset in seconds. No guilt, no resentment, no pressure, no simmering tensions. The only person judging you is yourself.
The modest fee for the use of this fantastic facility was met from the Pipe Family Trust Fund. Seven ringers of all ages, four of them from the new band at Great Barton, took part. All of them were at different stages of learning and all felt they had really benefited. It wasn’t just the learners though. Those of us who find ourselves doing a lot of teaching have a lot to learn as well and this experience gave us more confidence and really made us think about how we teach and encourage new ringers. The three hours at the Teaching Centre went by really quickly and there was a great atmosphere, helped along by the relaxed and welcoming approach of Mark Regan who so generously gave up his whole Saturday to help us. Mark also kindly arranged for us to ring at All Saints and St Swithun’s in Worcester city centre in the afternoon.
If you are ever in the area for whatever reason, you should try and visit. You will be amazed at what’s on offer. If you want to arrange your own visit you will be made more than welcome. If you’re doing a restoration you should go and see for yourself what the possibilities could be. Be inspired!