Teaching applicable safety precautions is especially
important. Teach a safety precaution just before reaching
the point in your demonstration where it applies. State
the reason for the precaution so that the trainees will
understand the need for compliance.
Patience is a virtue for any petty officer. If it does
not come naturally to you, you must train yourself to be
patient. A slow learner may never acquire the knowledge
or skill you are trying to impart if you are impatient.
Avoid sarcasm toward a bungler; that person may be
trying harder than you suspect. Nothing exhausts the
patience of the expert as much as the fumbling attempts
of a beginner; however, the instructor must patiently
demonstrate and explain until the trainee acquires the
needed competence. Good instruction means a more
effective crew, and such an asset justifies any amount of
If you find that your trainees have not learned what
you tried to teach them, do not react as if they disobeyed
orders. If trainees do not understand a certain lesson or
operation, that could indicate a poor job of teaching. The
old saying, If the learner hasn't learned, the teacher
hasn't taught might apply in some situations.
You can use instructional techniques with any of the
above methods. These techniques include the use of the
lesson summary, oral questioning, and training aids.
The term summary as used here refers to that part of
the lesson in which the instructor reviews the material
covered. In summarizing, keep in mind two major aims.
First, you want to help the trainees identify and organize
the subject matter. Second, you want to assist the trainees
in understanding and, where necessary, in memorizing
the subject matter. Use the following techniques in
summarizing a lesson:
Introduce the summary properly.
Summarize the subject matter thoroughly. Plan
the summary so that it assists the trainees in organizing
the important subject matter into a form more easily
learned. Review the actual subject matter, not just the
topic, thoroughly enough for the trainees to gain an
adequate understanding of the subject. Having the
trainees review the topics (class notes) will aid them in
understanding the subject.
Avoid a strictly oral summary, if possible.
Remember, if you need training aids to make the right
kind of lesson presentation, then you also need them for
the right kind of summary.
Summarize at appropriate intervals. If the lesson
is long for example, 2 or 3 hours in duration, you would
be wise to summarize at the end of each period or at the
end of each significant area of subject matter. Trainees
will absorb short summaries better than an unduly long
summary at the end of the complete lesson.
Enough emphasis cannot be placed on the
importance of questioning in any teaching situation.
Often the difference between a dull, boring lecture and a
lively discussion is only a matter of some well-planned,
well-directed oral questions. The ability to direct thought
through questioning is recognized as one of the most
valid proofs of teaching skill. A direct relationship exists
between your success as an instructor and the quality and
quantity of oral questioning you use in teaching.
Therefore, you will find the following techniques of
invaluable use to you, as an instructor:
Stimulate trainee thought. Ask questions that
call for the application of facts, rather than just facts
alone. Facts easily can be committed to memory and
require little or no thought on the part of the trainee.
Establish a level of instruction. Ask questions
that require trainees to comment on previous experience
in the subject matter you are going to teach. By asking a
series of oral questions, you can determine the trainees'
level of knowledge in a particular subject matter. That
information will enable you to determine the level at
which you should begin instruction.
Arouse interest. Asking a general question, such
as How many of you have fired a .50-caliber machine
gun? or How many persons died on the highways last
year? will serve to clear trainees' minds of any
extraneous thoughts. Such questions aid in motivating
trainees, as they mentally search for an answer. This type
of questioning usually is used to generate interest in a
large block of subject matter, usually a lesson as a whole.