Everyone should strive to enhance their knowledge base in order to become wiser and more proficient. We do this by seeking out knowledge we either do not have or wish to enhance and build upon. We read articles, seek out videos and any other means available to us.
When dealing with techniques and tactics with firearms, we want to know that we are provided the best instruction available to us. We want to walk away knowing that we have actually learned something of value to us. Especially if we have paid good money for the lesson we attended.
What does it take to be a good instructor? First, you must be able to articulate your teaching objectives in a manner that is conducive to each learning style. Not everyone learns the same way. There are 3 different learning styles; Kinesthetic, auditory and visual. As an instructor you must ensure that you are addressing each style to ensure full understanding of the material being taught. If you, as an instructor, fail to address one of them, you have left someone in the class behind. If you are the student, make sure your instructor is teaching to your style of learning.
Every instructor must have a base level of core competencies in which to effect learning. We do this by attending classes to become certified in the fields we wish to teach. That is only the base level. This is the book knowledge everyone must possess. Once you have this, you must go out and put it into practice. This is where we develop our teaching style and learn how we, as instructors, are able to get our point across to students. It is a learning process for us and only through experience do we become better.
Instructors must also be able to adapt to each individual student to make them at ease. Learning a new skill is difficult and this causes self-induced stress. A good instructor recognizes this and is able to make the student more at ease, coaching them through the process.
Learning in an instructor’s class how to diagnose shooter errors and what the target grouping looks like is one thing. Being able to diagnose what a shooter is actually doing and making them understand it and overcome it, is another. The ability to diagnose shooter error only comes through many repetitions and experience. What I am able to diagnose in a matter of 3 to 5 shots, may not be as easy for another instructor who has limited experience. Some shooters may be squeezing the trigger using the entire strong hand instead of only using the trigger finger. A less experienced instructor may not recognize this as quickly. This is only one example. There are many subtleties that are sometimes difficult to observe and diagnose.
Having been an instructor for almost 4 decades does not mean that I know everything and it must be done my way because I have seen this before. A closed-minded instructor is limited in their ability to be effective. Just because I have 4 decades of experience does not mean that I cannot learn something new from someone else. I have worked with students and not been able to effectively communicate my thoughts to them. When this has happened, I have asked other instructors to assist me and the shooter. This is for the shooters benefit and mine also. A fresh set of eyes is a good thing. Can an old dog be taught new tricks? I hope so.
I also know several instructors who possess only book knowledge, along with a list of instructor certifications but lack real world experience. Just because someone has a degree or certifications does not make them an effective instructor. There is no substitute for real world experience. Especially dealing with a lethal force encounter and the legalities involved. In previous articles, I have written about physiological changes that happen under stressful situations. It is difficult to simulate stress in a training environment. Real world scenario training must be integrated in order to produce stress and understand limitations.
Bottom line is this, if your going to pay someone to teach you, don’t you want to ensure you are getting the best for your money? If you would like to take advantage of the knowledge and training, I have garnered over the years, contact me.