“Will this be on the test?” is a common question asked by students both in the Academy and in in-service training. Why? Because of conditioning. Seth Godin wrote about this conditioning in a blog post back in September. Here is part of that post:
The problem is that no one taught us to understand. Instead, we are pushed to simply to memorize. To be educated enough to do well on the test, and then to forget what we were taught, because we never actually learned it.
Understanding opens the door to insight and to comfort with the data. Understanding is the platform we need to go to the next level… memorizing is a fragile house of cards, with no foundation. And the compliance mindset of “will this be on the test?” simply sets us up to believe the next thing that we’re supposed to learn.
When you get that question “Will this be on the test?” the answer should always be “Yes” followed by an explanation. The explanation should address the fact that the “test” you are preparing them for is not the section test, the midterm or the final for that course. The test you are preparing them for is the test on the street when they need to understand their powers of arrest or use their CIT, control tactics or EQ skills. The test will come in the courtroom when they are testifying. The test will come after a tough call when they need to use their stress management skills to decompress before they go home to their family. The test will come when they have to make a tough decision. The test will come over and over for their entire career, without time to study, prepare or cram.
These tests require that they learn, understand, comprehend, retain and be able to recall what is being taught. The material is being taught for a reason and should have an application in their professional and / or personal lives. If you as a trainer do not understand the application, or cannot convey it to the participants in the training then perhaps you do not understand it well enough and have more work to do prior to the training.
Because these tests require the participants to learn, understand, comprehend, retain and be able to recall what is being taught, you need to ensure you are teaching the material in a manner most conducive to that learning and retention. This requires a lot of study, reflection, learning and work on your part prior to and during the training.
Will this be on the test? Yes, so lets get to work.
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