An excerpt from Shooting-Performance: The Art of Instruction – Your Complete Guide To Instructional Excellence
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What Is An Instructor?
Excellent instructors are actually the sum of all the pieces of instruction that they have received to date—and what they’ve done with it. What I mean by that is when I sat down and laid everything I knew about instructing out on paper, I realized that instruction goes way beyond teaching—instruction is leadership at the highest refined level.
For example, in the Marine Corps, to be a drill instructor you have to through a very long, hard school. Drill Instructor School is one of the hardest in the Marine Corps, and the reason is that in order to be an instructor in an organization like the Marines, training students is an elite level responsibility that requires gaining elite-level skills.
Being an instructor goes far beyond simply teaching information or techniques. An instructor is a leader and a mentor—someone students want to follow.
An instructor is also a salesperson in some ways. Any number of students within a class may not buy into or believe in the technique that’s being taught, and our job as instructors is to sell them on the technique. You can simply tell students to do a technique, and that may work in certain organizations. But the bottom line is if students don’t have buy-in, they’re not going to train to the technique to the best of their ability.
An instructor is also a professional speaker and entertainer. Our eye contact, body language, and the words we use are so important. Our use of physical contact and position, the clothes we wear and our routine are all being observed, and it isn’t that different than the presentation a professional entertainer must give. Someone who gets up on stage to deliver a speech, or an actor performing a role, will have put a great deal of thought and preparation into that performance and into becoming good at what they do to do it effectively. We must be no different, using every tool at our disposal to instruct our students!
An instructor is a skilled performer. Do you think for a second that your students will not have a stronger desire to follow if they see the instructor perform at the highest level? We always say in our instructor program (FIDC) that you can not buy skill. It must be earned through hard work and thousands of repetitons in the skill you wish to be good at. It doesn’t matter what you teach, you need to be excellent at the skill. Instructors do not have to be more skilled than all of thier students at all times but should strive to be better than most of them. It only takes hard work. Don’t be lazy!
This material was taken from my book, The Art of Instruction. Buy the book
Until Then – Train Hard!
3 thoughts on “What Is An Instructor?”
“There is no better way to expand your own knowledge than to be a teacher.” ~ Unknown.
I’ve been placed in the capacity to train other in the realms of: over-the-road truck driving, motorcycle safety and one on one firearms training. I do not consider myself ain “Instructor”. I consider myself to be a trusted and learned friend with insights to better the abilities of another.
I’ve learned that it helps others for trainers to learn everything about the given field that they’re in and it’s not a good idea to flood the trainee with ALL of the information that the trainer has acquired. Such a move might dissuade people from seeking other training. However, a trainer with an expansive knowledge base will be more beneficial to an expansive and varying trainee compendium by recognizing the areas of struggle and making suggestions that lead down a different path that leads to success.
My dissertation is not meant to offer correction to you. I’ve actually learned quite a bit from you and others in your field as well. This comment is merely to state my position on training effectiveness.
Looking forward to it Sir! One issue at fault I have with the NRA is their attitude and approach to “instructors”. Tons of em out there,,,, but FEW are worthy. I eat, live, sleep, drink & breathe defensive instruction. According to my wife,,, it’s my life.
Agreed! Thanks for commenting!