Thursday, May 10, 2007

Training Sir!

A few thoughts on training.

Wikipedia says:
Training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relates to specific useful skills. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at technical colleges and polytechnics. Today it is often referred to as professional development.

Allow me to share what training is not: Training is not a chance to prove how little the students know. Training is not the best opportunity you'll ever get to embarrass everyone in your class. Training is not time set aside for bullshitting and no learning. Training is not a test given without instruction.

As you may have guessed, I have had a bad training experience lately.

Everyone I meet can teach me something. It may be something new, or it may be an old trick. It may be that they can teach me what not to do. But everyone can teach something.

It doesn't really matter what subject the training is in, Fire/EMS/Accounting or whatever. The point of training is to teach a new skill, or to reinforce an existing skill or knowledge. In EMS for instance you wouldn't send students in and give them a mega code test over knew protocols or equipment they had never seen and then say they had "been trained" in it would you?

As I said, anyone can teach something. Those of us who have been papered as "instructors" have a bit of a higher standard. Those who have been so papered by the various commissions and who have been assigned as training officers for a given department are held to a yet an even higher standard.

As in most things, have a plan. Have a lesson you want the students to learn. Actually give instruction on the subject. It will still be up to the students to use or disregard the information, but at least present it and let them decide.

Above all, don't have 20 guys out in the 90% humidity busting their ass and sweating it off for 2 hours, and then at the end tell them "We just wanted to see how you guys would handle this scenario."

And then when they ask how they did, it would be a really bad idea to say "OK I guess."

Mr Fixit


Ambulance Driver said...

Training is what I do. I've been doing EMS education for 13 years, and in that time I have learned one thing:

The educational environment is not an opportunity to prove that you know more than your students. That should be a given in most cases.

The goal is to see to it that your students know as much as YOU.

It may not always be attainable, but that's the goal.

Loved the Stripes reference there, Sergeant Hulka. ;)

Billy Sparks said...

This is one of the reasons I spent the time, effort and money to become an instructor. The folks that were teaching were ill tempered twits (not all but too many) that I figured if I at least tried it would be better.

Dave said...

Heh - I can relate. Our captain is responsible for our weekly training scenarios. I wish we did more actual training. About half the time, the two hours are used for washing the trucks and other tasks like that.