What do you expect from an instructor?

This is a discussion on What do you expect from an instructor? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Some people call this the Four F's of training. 1. Fun. I list this first because I think it should be first. The class needs ...

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Thread: What do you expect from an instructor?

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    Member Array HandgunWorld's Avatar
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    What do you expect from an instructor?

    Some people call this the Four F's of training.

    1. Fun. I list this first because I think it should be first. The class needs to be fun. Let's face it, shooting a gun is just plain fun. But more importantly, students learn best when they're having fun. I've taken very boring, mundane courses where the instructor only knew one tone of voice, had no stories to tell and looked like he was weened on a dill pickle. I'm not saying he/she needs to be an entertainer, but definitely needs to keep the students interested by making it fun. Most shooters like to shoot fast (safely of course.) Some of that should be incorporated into the class for example. As long as all the students are capable of doing it safely.

    2. Fear. I don't mean the class needs to be fearful, but students need to be encouraged to confront their fear. There's an old saying I've tried to live by, "do what you fear most, and you control fear." If you don't confront your fear and learn to control it, move past it and conquer it, you'll always be limited by it. Jon Payne says it well, one of the most dangerous zones in the world is your "comfort zone." Fear doesn't need to be the type where you're scared snotless, just getting out of your comfort zone is what I'm talking about.

    3. Function. What is your mission in the class? What are you there to learn? The instructor must be able to achieve the function or mission of the class. Be it marksmanship, gunfighting, sniper training, night fighting or whatever the mission, it must be achieved. The instructor must be focused on getting every student to achieve the mission. Also, functioning gear. A good instructor will help students put their gun, holster, ammo and magazines to the test. Will they function under the pressure of a gunfight? The instructor must help them find out. I've seen plenty of students begin a class thinking their stuff was good to go, only to find out it wasn't by the end of the course. I've been in that situation before.

    4. Fellowship. This is just as important as anything else. Many people often establish lasting fellowships. A "team" as Glen Tate calls it. I've lost count of the number of good friends that I still keep in touch with, that I've met over the years in training classes or doing my weekly show. Students realize their limitations and success together in a class and that's a great fellowship. Just being around other students of the gun is a learning experience in and of itself. A good instructor plants the seed of fellowship in his/her class.

    So what are your thoughts? I think this is a foundation of a good class and instructor. It's the type of instructor I am.

    You may have more to add. Please do.
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  3. #2
    AOK
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    Just a few quick ones right off of the top of my head......

    Instructors need to be excellent communicators. I don't care if an instructor can run his gun like I've never seen in my life. If his communication skills are sub par then the class becomes nothing more than a waste of time and ammo.

    Instructors must also play the role of a coach. The self defense training world isn't like sports where you have a coach with you during practice/training making sure you are maximizing your resources. Coach us up on how we can train outside of the class.

    Instructors must be in control of the training environment at all times. I want them to keep the environment safe such as the standard four rules of firearm safety or have strict policies on keep FOF training environments sterile. I also want them to stay on task and follow the class itinerary/lesson plans to the best of their abilities. While I enjoy a good conversation with instructors and fellow students, I don't want those conversations to ever get to a point where it takes away from learning.
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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Open to new ideas. Just b/c you're the instructor, doesn't mean you know it all.

    Yeah, your students all paid, but if one is unsafe - time for them to go.
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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    Just my 2 cents.

    1. Instructor of a SD class should at least have had a firearm pointed at them with ill intent if not actually fired on at some point in their life. Basic firearms handling class not so much.

    2. Function. If you dont learn what you went there to learn because of instructor failure and not your own, what is the use of going??

    3 Id also prefer not to be negligently shot by an instructor.

    4. Stress. I do not believe you can introduce fear or even the level of stress in a person that they will experience if put in a real world SD situation. They know they will not be shot, or seriously harmed. Short of actually shooting live ammo in FOF which I assume would leave very few finishing the class That cant be accomplished.
    But a moderate level of stress can be introduced with time limits, scores, etc.
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    I agree with Ghost that some sort of stress must be put on the trainee, whether it's time, poor lighting, or some type of physical activity prior to shooting so the trainee will have to shoot with a high heart rate or his arms tired from a simulated fight. Bad things aren't always going to happen on a warm sunny day. I also agree about the instructor needing some real world experience. I remember having instructors at our range that had very little time on the Job, but because they had an Uncle that was a Chief, they got to work at the OutDoor Range. When they spoke, their words didn't hold everybody's attention as much as a guy with time on the Job that had the Combat Cross or the Medal Of Valor pinned to his uniform.---Sturgis
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    Senior Member Array Caertaker's Avatar
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    Ability and willingness to control the environment. I don't know these people and I'd like things safe.
    Competent. I paid money and want value in return.
    Some attention to my shortcomings and helpful suggestions to correct the problem.
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    An instructor that knows his primary methods may not work for everyone and adjusts accordingly!

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    1) dont shoot me
    2) dont shoot anyone else
    3) dont allow another student to shoot me
    4) dont allow me to shoot another student


    Of course the above was a poor attempt at being funny. I'm an instructor in another subject. But I havr to get out to work and will revisit the subject.

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    3 Id also prefer not to be negligently shot by an instructor.
    Hard to disagree with this one.
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    There are two types of instructors in my world. First the basic hand gun safety instructor. This can be an NRA taught person who has a lot of range time and taken a class or two on being an instructor.
    The problem I have is advanced instructors that have been nothing but basic safety instructors and never faced a fire fight. I am not being disrespectful at all but telling me how to shoot scoot or communicate and the range is the only place you have shot a gun is not going to work for me or you. I want an instructor who has been there who admits the first one was not their best one and passes on what they have learned.

    If you are an instructor please don't be the guy that read a book and now is an expert on the subject of close quarter combat. Most of the worlds experts read the book written by a person who did it not talk about it.

    Short answer for me is my instructors for advanced training will be vetted.

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    Senior Member Array dV8r's Avatar
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    There are only two things needed for any instructor of nearly any subject.
    TRUTH & ACCURACY in all that is said and done, the rest is up to the student.
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    Keep Evolving and continues to learn. To remember not to make absolutes is another for me.....

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    JMB
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    Here are a few characteristics that come to mind:

    Professional Demeanor - Dress and appearance, speaking ability. No profanity or questionable jokes. Maintains control of the class at all times.

    Technical Competence - Knows and can demonstrate the material. Expert at diagnosing errors. The best remain students of their craft.

    Communication Skills - Instructors not only present learning material but must be sharp on observing feedback in all its forms...then adapt the presentation of subject matter to individual learning styles. Knows the audience...presents the material at the appropriate level for the students.

    Focused - Stays on subject. War stories are great for making a point or breaking the ice but don't go off on a tangent.

    Passion - Must be 100% committed...the desire for the students to do well is critical.

    Humility - Puffed up instructors turn off a lot of people.

    Questioning Techniques - The ability to help students discover the answers for themselves by asking appropriate questions or conducting exercises. Good questioning technique helps reveal if learning has taken place.

    Fairness - Holds students to a standard, but willing to provide extra help to those who need it.

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    Senior Member Array CR Williams's Avatar
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    There is a potential drawback to demanding that instructors have some actual shootings behind them, that being that, because they were successful/survived that/those shooting incidents, the believe that what they did can be applied generally. The same thing can happen with instructors that come from a specific background, military or law enforcement. They operated a certain way, they were trained a certain way, and they continue to apply the specifics of what they did and were trained to do to the more general training they present to the private sector.

    Not all will be this way, mind you. Some will recognize their limited experience and make a point of seeking out the experience of others. Some will not, and so will pass on a limited view that will not suit everyone that goes through their training courses. Likewise, I have encountered instructors who haven't come from military or law enforcement backgrounds and haven't been shot at to date, but they provide very good fight-focused training because they are diligent and careful to listen to the experienced people--all of the experienced people--that they encounter and they are always looking to gather more experience and knowledge as they go.

    It can go both ways either way. The best we can do as students is not just to look at the instructor's resume, but also seek the best information we can get from people that have gone through their training. We have a greater ability to do that currently than we ever have, and it behooves us to take advantage of it.
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    Ex Member Array MDof2's Avatar
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    I expect the instructor to know the law.
    I expect the instructor to know that he's not superman, and he's not training a room of wanabe superman's and that realistic situations and scenarios will be part of the curriculum.
    Friendly, engaging, well spoken, articulate, prepared, and professional.

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