All methods of instruction can be classified as
telling, lecturing, or discussing; showing or
demonstrating; or any combination of these. Often the
best way of teaching combines the various methods.
You must decide which methods to combine and the
emphasis to place on each unless the curriculum itself
dictates the combination needed. In making that
decision, consider (1) the nature of the trainees, (2) the
subject matter, and (3) the time limitations.
The lecture is still the most frequently used method
of instruction. However, presenting a lecture without
pausing for interaction with trainees can be ineffective
regardless of your skill as a speaker. The use of pauses
during the lecture for direct oral questioning creates
interaction between instructor and trainee.
Unfortunately, when classes are large, the instructor
cannot possibly interact with all trainees on each point.
The learning effectiveness of the lecture method has
been questioned because of the lack of interaction.
However, its use continues as a means of reaching a
large group at one time with a condensed, organized
body of information. Providing trainees with lesson
objectives before the lecture will enable them to listen
more effectively. It will help them to take concise, brief
notes concerning the objectives, rather than writing
feverishly throughout the lecture.
The lecture method will be presented first because
the techniques involved serve as the basis for other
methods of training. Those techniques apply not only
to lectures but also to many other kinds of
presentations in which oral explanations play a
secondary, but important, role. Every method depends
on oral instruction to give information, to arouse
attention and interest, and to develop receptive
attitudes on the part of the trainees. Therefore, as an
instructor, organize your oral presentations with the
following techniques in mind:
1. Maintain good eye contact. As you speak, shift
your gaze about the class, pausing momentarily to meet
the gaze of each trainee. Make the trainees feel that what
you have to say is directed to each of them personally.
Your eyes, as well as your voice, communicate to them;
and their eyes, facial expressions, and reactions
communicate to you. Watch for indications of doubt,
misunderstanding, a desire to participate, fatigue, or a
lack of interest. If you are dealing with young trainees,
you sometimes may need to remind them that they must
give undivided attention to the instruction.
2. Maintain a high degree of enthusiasm.
3. Speak in a natural, conversational voice.
Enunciate your words clearly. Make certain the trainees
can hear every spoken word.
4. Emphasize important points by the use of
gestures, repetition, and variation in voice inflection.
5. Check trainee comprehension carefully
throughout the presentation by watching the faces of the
trainees and by questioning them.
Observing facial expressions as an indication of
doubt or misunderstanding is not an absolute way of
ensuring trainee comprehension. Some trainees may
appear to be comprehending the subject matter when,
in reality, they are completely confused. Trainees who
are in doubt often hesitate to make their difficulty
known. They may hesitate because of natural timidity,
fear of being classified as stupid, or failure to
understand the subject matter well enough to explain
where their difficulty lies.
Frequently ask if the class has any questions, thus
giving the trainees an opportunity to express any
doubts or misunderstandings on their part. Based on
your personal knowledge and past experiences, ask
specific questions about those areas that might give
trainees the most trouble. Some instructors make the
mistake of waiting until the end of the presentation to
ask questions. The best time to clear away mental fog is
when the fog develops. Mental fog tends to create a
mental block that prevents the trainee from
concentrating on the subject matter being presented.
(Later in this section you will find techniques related to
asking questions, calling upon trainees to answer
questions, and evaluating answers.)
Which of the following is not a responsibility
of the training petty officer?
Develop monthly training schedules
Oversee preparation of training materials
Maintain training records
Assign personnel to fleet and service