I know people think I am a perfectionist (I am!) and that I tend to go too slowly when teaching; and when it comes to moving people on from plain hunting to trebling to ringing inside they may have a valid point.
However, when it comes to teaching bell handling I make no apology for taking things VERY slowly. I spend a lot of time on backstroke and handstroke separately before attempting to put it all together. I don't even think about it until the stroke that I am doing is going evenly to the balance most of the time. I make sure that the learner understands what happens if the bell doesn't get to or goes over the balance, and how over or under pulling one stroke affects the other stroke. I also let them feel it by doing my bit 'wrong', and I make sure that they are taking appropriate action on their stroke to rectify my 'mistake'. Why do I insist that all this is right and well on its way to being instinctive before I start putting both strokes together? Because it is at this point that you (the teacher) have no influence on the bell. Whether the bell gets to or goes over the balance is entirely down to the input of the learner - and they are going to get it wrong. It is all part of the learning process, and most people learn a lot from their mistakes; but only if they realise what they have done and have some idea of why, and how to correct it.
Think about watching a beginner ringing, it could be on their own or possibly having an early attempt
at rounds. The bell starts to come down and immediately the ringer is bombarded with instructions on how to rectify the situation, usually based on 'pull it harder'. A whole pull later and things are beginning to happen very quickly now; the rope is probably quite slack, the ringer is still getting a barrage of instructions, their brain cannot keep up with what is going on and their technique has vanished completely. At this point either the teacher steps in and takes control or the bell rings itself down, and the only thing that has been achieved is a negative impact on the learner. Now if the learner already knows what it feels like when a bell starts to come down, and knows how to correct it the whole scenario is more relaxed and in a couple of whole pulls you can go through “What is happening? What do you do about it?
Well do it!” and the learner has at least begun to take charge of the situation and hopefully will correct it.
A much more positive outcome for all. This is not a perfect world, and there are always going to be times when as a teacher you have to step in, but by taking things slowly these should be few and far between.
Remember, if somebody is going to keep coming back they need to go away from each session feeling positive and with a sense of achievement. This is much more likely to happen if they feel that they are in control, and effective instructions and advice have come from the teacher in a relaxed concise manner, than if somebody has spent the last ten minutes shouting ‘pull it harder’ to no effect.