Instructor Tips, Part I

Ray McCormack

Fire training evolves from concept through execution. Those involved may be involved from the beginning or just for selected phases. Just when you think your program is complete, be prepared for revisions. We often believe that our programs are fully squared away, only to find that there is something missing – That means you’re paying attention to it.

All of our training should be able to both expand and contract. It can expand after seeing new avenues of discussion that you didn’t see before. You must also streamline the material by ditching what doesn’t work. This allows for new information to be shared. Programs contract by deletion of repetition. Hammering a point home is different from repeating certain, or all the information, over and over again. This is common when videos that explain a topic are shown and then explained again by the instructor often word-for-word without additional insight. The video is a platform for the instructor to build on, not lay on.

Instructors who can bring first hand experiences to a firefighter training course are priceless. Their stories (hopefully to the point) give the listener an opportunity to place themselves in the story while allowing the instructor student wall to be broken for a bit. 

I have had many opportunities to co-teach, which is challenging in and of itself; however, when it works well, it’s seamless. One tip if your partner forgot a section of their talk: don’t tell the students. Either bring it in somewhere else if you forget it and move on. 

Just before concluding, give the students something to think about before you solicit their response. This will give you a chance to think back on anything you may wish to clear up or cover after their replies. Engage them, ask pointed questions, allow for various opinions, and Good Luck!

Keep Fire In Your Life

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