We are all familiar with the term, “Death by PowerPoint” and for good reason. Poorly designed and poorly presented PowerPoint presentations can suck the life out of the most dedicated student. PowerPoint is one of the most misused and misunderstood instructional tools out there. It’s really fun to bash PowerPoint; it’s much less popular to admit it can be a highly effective instructional tool if used well. Here I offer you a guide to using PowerPoint well.
I wrote “Lessons Learned as a Professional Instructor” over three years ago. It is still one of my favorite things I have ever written. I wrote it at a time when I made my living surrounded by other professional instructors. At the time I was burdened with the idea that all instructors possessed some level of professionalism and pride in their craft. The paramedic class I have almost finished has taught me this is not the case. Here are some basic recommendations for running a high-value class.
I recently saw a post on a gun blog† that said military and former military personnel are unqualified to teach civilian firearms classes. There is a kernel of truth to this statement, but while the words have traveled widely, their meaning has been left in the dust. Let’s look at the argument that military guys can’t teach CCW, then let’s clear this up, shall we?
Though this post might look like an article about archery, it’s actually about being a rank beginner at a physical skill. Though my goal in taking up the bow was to learn archery, I’ve already learned something much more important: what it’s like to be a beginner. It sucks to suck, but there are some valuable lessons here for instructors.
Lately I have been seriously thinking about the instructor’s burden: the duty an instructor of life-and-death topics has to his or her students.
Today I’m going to turn the instructorship articles around and talk a bit about the other half of the student/instructor equation: the student. I honestly don’t know what I’ve done more of in my adult life: teaching or being a student. As an adult I have spent thousands of hours in the student seat, and my learning has never stopped. It has slowed down significantly, and the chances I get to be a student these days are precious. Below are some tips on how to be a good student. This might be a standalone, or it might be a Part I….we’ll see.
I have spent the better part of the last ten years as a professional, full-time instructor. I’m not a “presenter,” “speaker,” or “lecturer” – I am a (capital “I”) Instructor and I take great pride in my craft. People walk away from my classes with quantifiable skills. I’m not an expert on many of my interest areas, but professional instruction is a topic on which I consider myself extremely well versed. Today I’m going to share some generalities and observations I’ve picked up over the years. Before I do that, I’m going to talk about my experience. I don’t want to belabor the point, but I do feel it is relevant to the topic at hand.