One of the topics that always comes in discussions with up law enforcement trainers regarding in-service training is the frustration that every year when officers come for training you have to start at ‘Square 1’. Trainers are frustrated by the reality many officers spend little or no time throughout the year practicing their physical skills. As a result trainers feel they need to start with the basics (Square 1) during annual in-service training.
- Do you continually train your skills and tactics throughout the year, or do you assume because you teach you do not need to train?
- Do you train and practice your teaching and instructional skills throughout the year? Do you attend conferences and read material that will help you to become a better trainer or do you just attend courses that help you become a better practitioner?
- Is it possible officers show up to in-service training with an attitude because of previous experience? Does training consist of the same drills in the same sequence every year, or is the training fresh each session? Is it possible they been embarrassed, belittled, or demeaned during a previous training session? The bad training experiences do not have to have anything to do with you. You however, have to deal with the training scars and attitudes created through previous training experiences.
- Drop the attitude of expected resistance and show up with an attitude that you are going to make the training a fun and challenging learning experience for everyone.
- Instead of starting at Square 1, start at Square 5, 6 or 7. The officers may just surprise you and do very well at that level and beyond. If they do happen to falter at that level then ask if they would like a refresher (now it is their idea) and simply drop back one or two levels, refresh the skill they need then move forward.
- Reward the officers for their experience and problem solving abilities rather than punishing them for their perceived lack of commitment to training.
- Acknowledge that officers may have had bad experiences in the past (I know I have, and I bet you have.). Let them know you are working to change the culture of training to make it more fun, relevant, realistic and rewarding. Let them know you need their participation and feedback to make that happen. At the end of the session, or maybe even at lunch and the end of the day, solicit their feedback on what they liked and what could be done to make the learning experience better for them. If you are going to ask for their feedback then make sure you read it and act on it.
- Focus on principles, concepts and problem solving rather than simply on technique and train in context (low light, confined spaces, furniture and obstacles in the environment, etc).
Brian Willis – Committed to excellence in training and excellence through training.
Think Differently About Training.
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