Throughout my time in the teaching and training business in the military, the civilian business world, and the ‘preparedness/liberty’ community, I’ve met people who don’t believe in using lesson plans, or don’t believe in updating their lesson plans, or worse yet, don’t practice evaluating the validity of their lesson plans (does it teach what it’s supposed to teach – meaning, does it provide the information to the student and does the student reach the Desired Learning Objective (DLO) at the end of the class/course.
I have no scientific evidence to back up my assertion, but I really believe this occurs because of a number of factors:
- The common misconception that ‘good’ instructors teach from rote memory exclusively
- Mediocre reading/comprehension skills
- Misunderstanding of the importance of having accurate class information immediately available (especially for the unseasoned instructor)
- Inability to ‘boil down’ source information from various outlets on the entire subject
- Poor to mediocre writing skills
- Lack of formal training in ‘How to Teach’
That’s quite an indictment, but from what I’ve seen, it’s fairly accurate in general terms. Now, make no mistake: There are instructors out there who are so intelligent that before they teach a class, they can scan a lesson plan, review the source material for 30 minutes, and walk into a class that will take 3 days to teach and never crack a book. I’ve known some instructors like this, truly. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in the main.
So, those of us who don’t achieve, ‘genius instructor’ level are left to use tools to get us and our students through the Plan of Instruction (POI). The primary battle rifle of teaching is the lesson plan. Your side arm, if you will, are the source documents used to provide detailed information for the lesson outline. Lesson plans allow you to have free flowing interaction (depending on the design of the class in question) with the students, and if you know the material (which is essential to effective teaching), you can glance at your LP from time to time to ensure you’re on track both information and time wise (time management is also an important factor in effective teaching/training).
Note the stock photo above of an Air Force academic classroom. The instructor definitely has a LP to refer to during the class. The people who teach/train in the military attend numerous schools to sharpen their ability to impart information; that’s one of the reasons our .mil folks are so good at what they do: They are taught everything they know in the most efficient and precise manner possible.
Now, we, as civilian NPT trainers, can’t attend these schools because they won’t let us in, and we most likely can’t afford the cost anyway. But we can study and learn how to develop effective lesson plans and use them during training.
Next time, constructing a basic lesson plan.