For years trainers have heard the adage that we have to “teach to the the lowest common denominator” in a class, or as it is commonly referred to as “Teach to the 2’s”. Enough already. We have to stop this type of language and thought process among trainers.
Here are just some of the flaws with this type of thinking:
- It assumes that because people have little or no experience in this area of instruction that they are going to struggle to learn the skill.
- It assumes that those that may pick up the skills slower than others are somehow at the bottom of the food chain.
- It makes it easy for the instructor as they simply need to teach to a lower level of skill, therefore they do not have to work as hard.
- It sets a tone of mediocrity for the entire class. If expectations of the group are low they will very often live down to those expectations.
- It will determine at a subconscious level how the trainer will treat the “2’s” in the class and they will very quickly pick up on those cues and that will affect their performance.
- It implies that as trainers we are somehow superior to the participants in our class. We have all been the ‘2’ and we will be that person again in future endeavors. We have all been new to some skill or subject. We need to get over ourselves and realize why we are there in the first place.
Let us go back for a minute to the key themes of Excellence in Training:
- You Have Not Taught Until They Have Learned. – If they are struggling to learn the skill then change the way to teach them. It is easy to teach a class of all highly skilled people who ‘get it’ right away. The challenge for a trainer is to take a group of people who are new to a skill or subject and help them to ‘get it’. Help them to have that ‘ah hah’ moment where the light comes on, it all makes sense and it all comes together. The challenge is to take that officer who has never been in a fight in their lives and give them the competence and confidence to win and violent fight where someone is trying to take their life.
- What’s Important Now. – What’s Important Now is to walk into the training room and imagine them all as 10’s in waiting. Now, what’s important is to find a way to help each and every one of them discover their inner 10 and succeed. Find out what they like to do in their spare time. Find out where they have succeeded in other areas of their lives and tap into that to help them believe in themselves and succeed.