Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Instructional Technique - Beware of Phonies!

During my time in the Australian Army I had the opportunity to receive some of the best training in the world. From CQB and hostage rescue to using long range patrol vehicles behind enemy lines. A very unique experience. One thing that remained common among the diverse training courses was the ability of the instructional cadre to provide very clear and concise instruction taught in a method that is easy to understand and quick to learn but most importantly that it made sense!

This is a very important and vital part of the instructional technique. To become an instructor in the Australian Army, the soldier must attend an eight week initial course that qualifies him in all facets of instruction including parade ground drill, theory lessons, equipment lessons and weapons lessons. During this course it is continuously stressed to the student the importance of a step by step approach to learning and progressional learning with the use of tests of objectives by way of practical skills, oral Q & A or a written test. These tests are imperative as they quantify the new learning.

As a rule after the preliminary administration has been conducted, each lesson should begin with an introduction. The introduction should consist of what the students will be taught, the reason why the students need to know it and what the students must know by the end of the lesson. After the introduction is concluded the main body should be taught. This the guts of the lesson. A basic method of instruction is to use the abbreviation of EDI, or Explanation, Demonstration, Imitation. The instructor explains what is required. It is important at this time not to demonstrate during the explanation! This is very difficult for instructors. If there is a lot of information to be delivered like for example during the 'Strip and Assemble of the M4' then the instructor should explain one aspect then demonstrate it. This will keep the students focused on the task at hand and are not bombarded by loads of information at one time.
If the skill to be learnt is a physical skill such as with Drill. A complete demonstration should be performed by the instructor prior to teaching the main body. This will allow the students to see what is to be learnt in its entirety.

There should also be an adequate amount of time allocated for either individual or group practice of the skill. This is the 'Imitation' It allows the instructor to individually critique the performance of the students during the learning phase.

The lesson should conclude with the 'Conclusion'. This should consist of a test of elementary objectives. A reiteration of what was being taught and the reason why it is important to learn it. A quick overview if the performance of the students during the lesson then a preview of the next lesson on the syllabus with which instructor and what location.

Don't forget the dismissal, which may include a final clearance of weapons if required.

For more information on instructional technique or if your interested in attending a formal 'Method Of Instruction' course, please email me.

Take care and stay safe.

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