Learning & Development

This is a series of regular articles on teaching and learning published in The Ringing World.  Most were written by John Harrison, then chairman of the Education Committee.

The collected articles are available in book form from the Central Council Publications Shop:

The Learning Curve, Volume 1: 1999-2001
The Learning Curve, Volume 2: 2002-2003
The Learning Curve, Volume 3: 2004-2005
The Learning Curve, Volume 4: 2006-2007

By arrangement with The Ringing World and Central Council Publications, each of the 102 articles is available as an individual PDF file . You are free to download and use them for training purposes.

You can download any article either by clicking on the link in the list of volumes and chapters below, or alternatively via the online index which provides links to articles based on the topics covered.

Volume 1: 1999 – 2001

Vol-ChapterPublishedTitle
1-01June 1999Welcome to The Learning Curve & Raising and lowering in peal – from scratch
1-02July 1999Good striking and rhythmic ringing
1-03August 1999It’s all double Dutch
1-04September 1999Small steps
1-05October 1999Guided by the Treble
1-06November 1999Something for everyone
1-07December 1999Thinking about bellhandling
1-08January 2000Principles
1-09February 2000Turning in the Tenor
1-10March 2000Small is beautiful
1-11April 2000Over the top
1-12May 2000Something a little different
1-13June 2000Feeling the bell
1-14July 2000Double handed ringing
1-15September 2000Learning methods
1-16October 2000Call changes
1-17November 2000Back seat drivers
1-18December 2000Knowing where you are
1-19January 2001Doing it with style
1-20February 2001Ringing methods in hand – 1
1-21March 2001Ringing methods in hand – 2 and 3
1-22April 2001Ringing methods in hand – 4
1-23May 2001Older learners
1-24June 2001Setting the pace
1-25July 2001Learning the ropes
1-26August 2001Old learners or ageless problems?
1-27September 2001To move or not to move?
1-28October 2001Ringers and musicians
1-29November 2001Fighting the bell
1-30December 2001Collapsing touches

Volume 2: 2002 – 2003

Vol-ChapterPublishedTitle
2-01January 2002Hands and arms
2-02February 2002Intermediate methods
2-03March 2002Why learn Grandsire?
2-04April 2002Observation
2-05May 2002Does size matter?
2-06June 2002Visualising methods
2-07July 2002Chiming
2-08August 2002Coils and things
2-09September 2002More about coils
2-10October 2002Music to the ears
2-11November 2002Go …
2-12December 2002Muscle memory and flying
2-13January 2003The long and short of it
2-14February 2003Go … again
2-15March 2003Leading
2-16April 2003Mother of invention
2-17May 2003Speed
2-18June 2003From the same hymn sheet
2-19July 2003Motor learning
2-20August 2003More hymn sheets
2-21September 2003Perfection versus holism
2-22October 2003Simulators
2-23November 2003More invention
2-24December 2003It depends how you look at it

Volume 3: 2004 – 2005

Vol-ChapterPublishedTitle
3-01January 2004Conducting and coursing order – 1
3-02February 2004Conducting and coursing order – 2
3-03March 2004When things go wrong
3-04April 2004Place notation
3-05May 2004Steady as she goes
3-06June 2004Minimus is good for you
3-07July 2004Something original
3-08August 2004What if …?
3-09September 2004How fast should we go?
3-10October 2004Beyond the blue line
3-11November 2004Know your instrument – 1
3-12December 2004All roads lead to Rome
3-13January 2005Know your instrument – 2
3-14February 2005Ringing and numbers
3-15March 2005Once more with feeling
3-16April 2005Knowing and doing
3-17May 2005Fitting together
3-18June 2005Taking the lead
3-19July 2005Listen to the music
3-20August 2005Grids
3-21September 2005Bob Doubles – The Holy Grail?
3-22October 2005Helpful bits of structure
3-23November 2005I got rhythm
3-24December 2005Is there another way?

Volume 4: 2006 – 2007

Vol-ChapterPublishedTitle
4-01January 2006Conduct Grandsire Doubles – 1
4-02February 2006Conduct Grandsire Doubles – 2
4-03March 2006Know your instrument – 3
4-04April 2006Learning all eleven
4-05May 2006Quarters are good for you
4-06June 2006More helpful structure
4-07July 2006Judging
4-08August 2006Eyes down for a full house
4-09September 2006Viewed from the treble
4-10October 2006Double Oxford
4-11November 2006Calling quarter peals
4-12December 2006Learning to hunt
4-13January 2007Ears to hear
4-14February 2007Singles in Stedman Doubles
4-15March 2007Yorkshire on higher numbers
4-16April 2007Double Norwich
4-17May 2007Up and down
4-18June 2007Pieces of eight?
4-19July 2007Rope movement
4-20August 2007Ropesight
4-21September 2007Knowing your place
4-22October 2007Getting it together
4-23November 2007More or less?
4-24December 2007Keep on learning

Originally published in The Ringing World – by David Smith.

The Education Column began with series of eight articles suggesting ways in which teachers and ringing masters can help their learners, who have achieved bell control, to make the transition to simple method ringing. The articles present various ideas and practice methods, not intended to be in sequence of increasing difficulty.

Since then there have been four further series, the last of which is at the time of writing (Feb 2020) yet to be published.  So that we have a total of:

Series 1:           Rounds to Plain Bob Doubles

Series 2:           Introducing Surprise

Series 3:           The Lightweight Conductor

Series 4:           Extending your Methods

Series 5:           Understanding methods (not yet published – provisional title)

Extended versions of all these are being published by The Ringing World.  These packs include numerous “extras” that were not in the original publication, as well as the edited as revised articles.  We will update this text once these publications are available, indicating how you may order them from The Ringing World.

Meanwhile the Series One articles can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

1. Introductory Rumblings

2. What is Bastow? Why is it useful?

3. How Quick are your Sixes?

4. Little Bob and Penultimate

5. Let’s be Original!

6. Kaleidoscope

7. Down Mexico way

8. Back to Basics


Pip Penney created this toolkit to support anyone running a practice for ringers at any stage up to Surprise Minor.

The Introduction emphasises the importance of giving each a personal Prime Ring during the practice, and goes on to provide a series of suggestions for maximising the effectiveness of the practice in different circumstances.

Foundation skills

Plain Bob Doubles

Grandsire Doubles

Stedman Doubles

More Doubles Methods

  • More Doubles
    • Table of 8 methods by frontwork, 3/4 work and backwork
    • Grids of plain courses and bobs for St Simons, Reverse Canterbury
    • Plain course grids for St Martins, St Nicholas, Winchendon Place, St Osmund
    • Plain course grids for Eynesbury, St Remegius, Huntley
    • Table of 17 variations based on plain courses of Plain Bob, Reverse Canterbury, St Simons and St Martins, using a variety of singles and bobs
  • Doubles frontworks
    • Frontwork lines for St Simons, St Martins, St Osmund, Eynesbury
    • Lines for Plain Bob & Reverse Canterbury bobs; Grandsire single & extreme; Old, Wallflower, Pink & Antelope singles
  • Join-the-dots method maker grids

Plain and Treble Bob Minor

Surprise Minor

All Change

Methods useful for the early development of change ringing

The following sheets present some simple methods (some of which are not “proper” methods) that can be used to practise specific skills or that can be used in certain circumstances. These are explained on each sheet. These methods can often prove quite good fun for the more experienced members of the band, as well as benefiting the learners, as they are usually easy for experienced ringers to learn but a bit different.

  • Minimus methods plus NEW – Bastow Minimus
    • Plain Bob
    • Reverse Bob
    • Double Bob
    • Canterbury
    • Reverse Canterbury
    • Double Canterbury
    • Single Court
    • Reverse Court
    • Double Court
    • St Nicholas
    • Reverse St Nicholas
    • Bastow Nicholas
  • Doubles methods and variations
    • Original Doubles (good for developing ropesight, reinforcing the necessity for a ringer to count his/her place)
    • Penultimus Doubles (provides a simple (and fun) variation on plain hunt which is a useful aid to ropesight
    • Churchyard Bob (plain hunt with a Grandsire start)
    • Slapton Slow Course Doubles (useful for developing early ropesight)
    • Cornwall Slow Course Doubles (can be rung with few experienced ringers)
    • Reverse St Bartholomew’s (starts to develop skills for ringing Doubles variations)
    • Stedman Quick Sixes or Cloister Doubles (useful for ringers learning to plain hunt/develop early ropesight)
    • Bastow Little Court Doubles (provides practice for the treble ringer to gain ropesight and practise the changes of speed between leading and making seconds)
    • Barrow on Humber Bob Doubles (teaches versatility and quick thinking)
  • Minor
    • Treble bob hunt (exercise to develop the skill of treble bob hunting)
    • Forward Minor (provides a stepping stone towards Kent Treble Bob Minor)
    • Kent Little Court Minor (as above but does not require a treble ringer who can treble bob hunt)
    • Bastow Little Court Minor (provides practice for the treble ringer to gain ropesight and practise the changes of speed between leading and making seconds)
    • Cottesmore Slow Course Minor (useful if the band meets short of experienced ringers)
    • Adrian Parry Slow Course Minor (another method useful if the band meets short of experienced ringers)
    • Original Minor (good for developing ropesight/reinforces the neccesity for a ringer to count his/her place)
    • Down Places Little Hybrid Minor (gives practice in ringing Cambridge places down)

Historical publications include:

The Beginners Handbook, Teaching from Rounds to Bob Doubles, Doubles and Minor for Beginners, and Triples and Major for Beginners.

  • Judging Striking Competitions u2014 a new (2013) book by Simon Linford
  • The New Ringeru2019s Book u2014 extended and modernised version of The Beginners Handbook ** BESTSELLER **
  • Teaching Tips u2014 With many illustrations in full colour, including sections on Teaching Skills, Coaching Tips, Initial Bell Handling, Problem Solving Tables and Learnersu2019 Early Practices from Call Changes through Plain Hunt to Bob Doubles
  • The Tower Handbook u2014 a comprehensive but easy-to-dip-into reference about anything to do with ringing
  • Listen to Ringing and Listen to Ringing u2014 Live u2014 CDs to develop ringersu2019 listening skills
  • Learning Methods u2014 a structured approach to help learn new methods thoroughly
  • A Tutoru2019s Handbook (revision)
  • Bellhandling u2014 a Tutoru2019s Companion (DVD/tape)
  • Organising an Outing u2014 practical advice for a popular activity.
  • Splicing Bell Ropes Illustrated u2014 a detailed guide, fully illustrated in colour.
  • Kaleidoscope Ringing u2014 an alternative approach to developing method ringing skills.
  • Getting it Right u2014 guidelines for officers of ringing societies.
  • Teaching Unravelled u2014 a book about teaching ringers that draws on the results of research into how people learn.

Ringing Practice Toolkitu00a0(see left)

The Learning Curveu00a0(4 volumes) (see left)

Young people and ringing (see left)


The CCCBR is planning to list all towers that offer anything beyond regular practices for the tower members.

Ringing Centres, Ringing Schools, Training facilities, ART Hubs and Centres u2013 anywhere that has a simulator/dumb bell, or runs courses/training days and aspires to make a significant difference can apply.

This is a work in progress, and currently we are building up a list of centres but we are not publishing the list until it has a significant number of entries on it.


The report Trends in Ringing, commissioned by the 2000 Central Council meeting at Bury St Edmunds recommended the consideration of fast-track training courses for young people and the provision of better ways to support university ringing societies.

In January 2004 the Education Committee responded with a Training young people (Discussion paper) setting out the issues, problems and possibilities. This was followed in September 2005 by its conclusions and recommendations in Training young people (Conclusions).

The reports were published in The Ringing World in January 2004 and September 2005, respectively.

In 2019 a conference on Youth ringing issues was held at Worcester : A Vision for the Future of Youth Ringing.  This was in conjunction with ART.  Ideas and material generated by that event will appear here later.

Other organisations:    Girlguiding, Scouting and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme all offer recognition of achievement for ringing activities and accomplishment.

Many other youth organisations, as part of their award schemes, require their members to learn a new skill, show an improvement in an existing skill, take part in a team activity or try something new, bellringing could be used for any of these.

Most youth organisations will also welcome the opportunity for their members to learn about ringing. This can take the form of a group visit to a church or a visit by ringers to a meeting night of the group.