Reward system for helping children to learn Plain Bob

Yesterday we had a Thomas-only session where we thoroughly rehearsed Plain Bob Minor lead by lead, one lead at a time.  It might be a bit of a cheat, but I rather think the key to learning ringing is to grab hold of any crutch to help you get a bit further, and that buys you time to learn to do without the crutch.


We haven’t often taken the time to explain about how Plain Bob works to our son Thomas, mostly because he really just wants to ring it.  However, his patience for the endless repitition to get this just by ringing it is a bit limited, and we also tend to do this pretty late in the day when everyone is a bit tired.

What he really needs to do is thoroughly memorise the pairs, and I decided to adapt the star system used in his school for memorising times tables.  There a bronze star is being able to recite the table, a silver star is when you can answer three random problems, and the gold star is when you can give the products of a given number in that table.    It is all verbal and hesitations mean you are sent gently back for more studying.  It is a good system because it forces one to thoroughly learn a times table from several different angles.

So in a cafe a couple of days ago, Thomas and I devised the following star system for learning the pairs in Plain Bob minor:

  • Bronze:  reciting the positions in the pair (ie:  lead-fourths, lead-fifths, etc.)
  • Silver: on being given a position and a direction, being able to say what the next position will be.  For example: 2nds and 4ths heading up; the answer is 3rds and 5ths (this needs some work on vocabulary when it comes to the opposites pair but you get the general idea).
  • Gold: ringing it without prompting.

We will let you know how it works out.