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  #1  
Old 11-05-2019, 07:20 AM
GNfromTN GNfromTN is offline
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Firearms Instructor Training

I am planning on retiring from my job next August (after 31 years). Time to change things up a bit! I would like to get certified as a Firearms Instructor.
I am a Vet and have had firearms training as well as carried in the service. I am an avid shooter and am a member of an awesome range. I am attending Gunsite Academy's 250 Pistol class in 3 weeks in Arizona. I will also be taking the NRA's Firearm Instructor class when I get back. My Dad was a State Trooper so I have been around guns, respect guns/gun safety my whole life.
Any other classes, information, or recommendations that I should pursue to become an instructor?

Thanks in Advance for any input.

Gary
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2019, 07:35 AM
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Grandpas50AE Grandpas50AE is offline
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As an instructor, my personal belief is that it is beneficial to always take training with other instructors; always something to learn, whether it is techniques in shooting, gun handling, or instructing. Some of the best instructors I've taken multiple classes from are Ken Hackathorn (retired now and not giving classes anymore), Rob Leatham, Larry Vickers, Bill Wilson, and on my "next" list is Ernie Langdon, Mike Seeklander, and Paul Howe. There are plenty of good ones like the Gunsite class you've signed up for, and Thunder Ranch, so look at the ones that have good reputations in the business. I always learn something new with each of them.
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NRA Benefactor - Certs -Chief RSO; Instructor - Basic Pistol (D.E.), Rifle, Shotgun, PPIH, PPOH

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Wilsons: Several; Kimbers: 10mm (Wilsonized), .38S (Wilson barrel)
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2019, 02:44 PM
HoraceSwaby HoraceSwaby is offline
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Tom Givens has an instructor program, I'd look into that.

I'd also suggest training with everyone Grandpa50AE mentioned.

Shoot local IDPA and USPSA matches to improve your skills.

Don't use these cliché sayings :

*Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
*Fine vs gross motorskills
*Combat accuracy
*Center mass
*There's no timers in a gunfight
*Paper doesn't shoot back
*Competition will get you killed in the streets
*knockdown power

Be able to get a decent score on these common shooting drills (cuz nobody wants a teacher who can't do what they're teaching)

*Bill Drill
*Vickers Test
*Todd Green FAST test
*FBI Bullseye
*Dot Torture
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  #4  
Old 11-06-2019, 04:39 PM
GNfromTN GNfromTN is offline
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Thank you both for the great info.
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2020, 11:58 PM
pogo123 pogo123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GNfromTN View Post
I am planning on retiring from my job next August (after 31 years). Time to change things up a bit! I would like to get certified as a Firearms Instructor.
I am a Vet and have had firearms training as well as carried in the service. I am an avid shooter and am a member of an awesome range. I am attending Gunsite Academy's 250 Pistol class in 3 weeks in Arizona. I will also be taking the NRA's Firearm Instructor class when I get back. My Dad was a State Trooper so I have been around guns, respect guns/gun safety my whole life.
Any other classes, information, or recommendations that I should pursue to become an instructor?

Thanks in Advance for any input.

Gary
First of all, thank you for your service.

In the words of my gun instructor/mentor "you can make a small fortune as a firearms instructor . . . if you start with a large one". That's 'where I've been' the last couple of years.

Get certified as an NRA instructor, then ally yourself with a local range that offers instruction. Then work with another experienced instructor there to learn the ropes - so to speak.
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2020, 01:16 PM
GunBugBit GunBugBit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GNfromTN View Post
I am planning on retiring from my job next August (after 31 years). Time to change things up a bit! I would like to get certified as a Firearms Instructor.
I am a Vet and have had firearms training as well as carried in the service. I am an avid shooter and am a member of an awesome range. I am attending Gunsite Academy's 250 Pistol class in 3 weeks in Arizona. I will also be taking the NRA's Firearm Instructor class when I get back. My Dad was a State Trooper so I have been around guns, respect guns/gun safety my whole life.
Any other classes, information, or recommendations that I should pursue to become an instructor?

Thanks in Advance for any input.

Gary
The track you're on sounds good.

I would say: compete.

If military and law enforcement training elements are important to you, compete with other current or retired military and/or law enforcement competitors. They are out there and all the ones I've shot with are good, practical guys. A blend of skills from that point of view plus from those who passionately pursue raw shooting skill will be a great foundation for becoming a respected instructor.
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2020, 03:09 PM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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My background is similar to yours except I've competed at local, state and national levels in rifle, shotgun and pistol competition since the 60's.

I'm certified as a POST (LEO) instructor and in almost all the NRA Certifications and participated in NRA training classes for several years at our club. None of the other trainers had any experience beyond their NRA training. I found it very frustrating listening to so many ill conceived training and hands on instruction.

I found my niche in seeking out professional women looking for training. Many did not want to learn this skill in a group setting and preferred one on one.

I use training material that follows closely other training found on the internet. I started with my own outline, which is what I teach from but it's backed up by detailed syllabus. I set up the training for 5, 2 hour sessions. Each session involved about 60-90 minutes of classroom and 30-60 minutes of range time. 60 minutes of range is like a marathon to new shooters!

Trainees get their copy of the outline and syllabus for reference. I also refer trainees to videos found on YouTube by well known instructors. Be sure vid's mirror what you are teaching for credibility.

I also have a dedicated inventory of training guns and "blue" guns.

I started out charging $25 an hour and ended up at $35. You will want your own insurance unless you're covered by your club or the NRA.

I did this for about 10 years until the club turned into a knitting society and lost it's compass!

Good luck with your endeavor,
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Gun Control: Acquire target, align sights, press trigger, only after you have identified your target and what is beyond it and made the decision to shoot!

Last edited by jjfitch; 02-18-2020 at 03:12 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2020, 05:31 AM
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Grandpas50AE Grandpas50AE is offline
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Just to add to what jjfitch said, I consider the NRA Instructor certifications as a STARTING point, and there is much to learn after that to become a good quality instructor.
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Roger - Life GOA, CCRKBA, TSRA, VCDL
NRA Benefactor - Certs -Chief RSO; Instructor - Basic Pistol (D.E.), Rifle, Shotgun, PPIH, PPOH

Army M.P. 1971 - 1972
Wilsons: Several; Kimbers: 10mm (Wilsonized), .38S (Wilson barrel)
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  #9  
Old 02-20-2020, 03:22 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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First, full disclosure- I'm a training/ teaching "snob"... I've taught, on and off, both informally and formally, for 30 years in Army SOF. For the last 6 years, I've been a Senior Instructor, Course Writer, Chief Instructor, Senior Military Science Instructor, Training Developer, Evaluating Instructor, and Instructor/ Leader at the Special Warfare Center and School at FT Bragg. I teach everything from physical skills to human dynamics and engagement to graduate-level academics. Over the last 6 years, I've probably received 600+ hours of instruction on learning to teach.... Countless hours prior to that over the years... The purpose of the above isn't to boast, but to create an understanding of my perspective, and why I take the subject of training/ teaching so seriously.

It takes more than a mastery of a skill or subject matter to be able to transfer that skill or knowledge to another. There are multi methods to do so, and some work better than others- depending on the skill or knowledge, and the student base. One needs to have a full magazine (cheesy pun intended) of methodology available. A solid understanding of learning styles and domains of learning, and how to apply them. Determining which styles apply to your individual students.... Mastering all of the different styles, and knowing the advantages and limitations of each... for example, at what point (how much time) does a straight lecture block of instruction reach a catastrophic failure point for comprehension and retention of the material?

Training development and educational design is completely different, though related, skill set. Far too many cobble together some .pptx slides, maybe a handout, or walk through a physical skill and throw in a couple of off the rack "drills", and call it "training". They fail to understand the process of getting a students from zero to successful- and usually don't have a defined standard of what success is. Creating a POI and ISAP is a time consuming process, and rarely a solo activity. Breaking the material into blocks or modules, that build upon each other, specifying action, condition, and standards, identifying and articulating performance steps and sequence.... its a weird combination of science, art, and a little voodoo... identifying and incorporating the more abstract abilities that one is trying to develop- things students should be doing, but aren't specified in the instruction.

Language means something- "test", "evaluate", and "assess" are not synonymous. Verbiage used in teaching materials is critical to a quality product.

Having quantifiable standards is difficult, particularly in fee-for service instruction. Rudimentary laws of probability dictate that, given clear standards and expectations, not everyone will be a first time "go". A consistent, 100% pass rate suggests either poor training, or low standards. Development of a quality rubric to quantify subject student output or performance is another dark art....

Far too many firearms or shooting "instructors" are mediocre at best, and flat dangerous at worst. Students leave with a "certificate" worth less than the paper its printed on, and go out into the world thinking that they're "trained".... as Grandpa50AE stated, NRA "instructor qualifications" are just the very beginning, and (unless something has changed recently) so rudimentary as to be of almost no real value for instructor development. Its early grammar school at best. They're accepted only because the community and industry has steadfastly refused to develop a better quality product.

Embroidery is cheap, and "Instructor " polos and ball caps are reading available....

I could pontificating for hours on the subject, but the wavetops will do.
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I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. ~ John Adams
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  #10  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:46 AM
BBBBill BBBBill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
First, full disclosure- I'm a training/ teaching "snob"... I've taught, on and off, both informally and formally, for 30 years in Army SOF. For the last 6 years, I've been a Senior Instructor, Course Writer, Chief Instructor, Senior Military Science Instructor, Training Developer, Evaluating Instructor, and Instructor/ Leader at the Special Warfare Center and School at FT Bragg. I teach everything from physical skills to human dynamics and engagement to graduate-level academics. Over the last 6 years, I've probably received 600+ hours of instruction on learning to teach.... Countless hours prior to that over the years... The purpose of the above isn't to boast, but to create an understanding of my perspective, and why I take the subject of training/ teaching so seriously.

It takes more than a mastery of a skill or subject matter to be able to transfer that skill or knowledge to another. There are multi methods to do so, and some work better than others- depending on the skill or knowledge, and the student base. One needs to have a full magazine (cheesy pun intended) of methodology available. A solid understanding of learning styles and domains of learning, and how to apply them. Determining which styles apply to your individual students.... Mastering all of the different styles, and knowing the advantages and limitations of each... for example, at what point (how much time) does a straight lecture block of instruction reach a catastrophic failure point for comprehension and retention of the material?

Training development and educational design is completely different, though related, skill set. Far too many cobble together some .pptx slides, maybe a handout, or walk through a physical skill and throw in a couple of off the rack "drills", and call it "training". They fail to understand the process of getting a students from zero to successful- and usually don't have a defined standard of what success is. Creating a POI and ISAP is a time consuming process, and rarely a solo activity. Breaking the material into blocks or modules, that build upon each other, specifying action, condition, and standards, identifying and articulating performance steps and sequence.... its a weird combination of science, art, and a little voodoo... identifying and incorporating the more abstract abilities that one is trying to develop- things students should be doing, but aren't specified in the instruction.

Language means something- "test", "evaluate", and "assess" are not synonymous. Verbiage used in teaching materials is critical to a quality product.

Having quantifiable standards is difficult, particularly in fee-for service instruction. Rudimentary laws of probability dictate that, given clear standards and expectations, not everyone will be a first time "go". A consistent, 100% pass rate suggests either poor training, or low standards. Development of a quality rubric to quantify subject student output or performance is another dark art....

Far too many firearms or shooting "instructors" are mediocre at best, and flat dangerous at worst. Students leave with a "certificate" worth less than the paper its printed on, and go out into the world thinking that they're "trained".... as Grandpa50AE stated, NRA "instructor qualifications" are just the very beginning, and (unless something has changed recently) so rudimentary as to be of almost no real value for instructor development. Its early grammar school at best. They're accepted only because the community and industry has steadfastly refused to develop a better quality product.

Embroidery is cheap, and "Instructor " polos and ball caps are reading available....

I could pontificating for hours on the subject, but the wavetops will do.
^^^ Very well stated. Makes me wish that I were still in and able to attend some of your classes. Unfortunately you put out to pasture after age 60...
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2020, 07:25 AM
GNfromTN GNfromTN is offline
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Thank you or all the great replies and info. I have been coaching/training folks in my career for 31 years so I do feel comfortable training and assisting people. I know sometimes that can be a challenge for some as you do have to be somewhat of a "people person" to train effectively whether it be firearms, work safety, etc.
My goal is to retire and be an instructor part time. Not looking to rely on any income to live on but more for assisting others and doing something I enjoy. Not looking to start my own training school, facility, etc. Just assist concerned citizens.
I thank you for your great and in depth, thoughtful response (wccountryboy) I agree and also take training very serious, bad training leads to bad habits!
I was very humbled at Gunsite for the week I was there! SOOOO much to learn, understand and practice and that was just the 250 class.
My goal is to take all the NRA classes pertaining to pistol/pistol training over the next 9 months. Once I complete them I will seek more instruction/knowledge till I feel confident but will get others opinions on my ability as well to train others.
Hopefully I can teach/instruct a few days here and there when I retire but I will never stop learning.
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  #12  
Old 03-08-2020, 12:49 AM
HoraceSwaby HoraceSwaby is offline
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Good, pertinent article.

https://ricochet.com/465802/archives...earms-trainer/
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  #13  
Old 03-09-2020, 04:50 PM
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Grandpas50AE Grandpas50AE is offline
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Thanks for the link to that article Horace, good information there. I definitely agree with the points he made about a good instructor always looks to expand their toolbox and gain new knowledge/techniques to be able to give full value to their students.
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NRA Benefactor - Certs -Chief RSO; Instructor - Basic Pistol (D.E.), Rifle, Shotgun, PPIH, PPOH

Army M.P. 1971 - 1972
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:01 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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Originally Posted by HoraceSwaby View Post
Not a bad article, but I see 2 flaws.
The first is the repeated plug for Mas Ayoob. Some who's considered and "expert" not because of any real training or experience, but because he said so, loudly and repeatedly, for 40 years, writes books at a time when no one else is... isn't necessarily an "expert" at anything other than self promotion.
The second, and far more important, is the lack of any type of teaching/ instructing training or credentials. This is by far the most critical thing to look for. If I look for a lawyer, I assume he has a law degree and has passed the bar. If I see a physician, I assume he has graduated medical school and has a license to practice. If (assuming I currently had) a six year old, I would assume that her teacher(s) were somewhat educated in teaching and had valid certificates....
One can be the best in the world at a task or with a subject knowledge. It DOESN'T mean that they know how to effectively transfer that knowing or skill to a student. The NRA certs don't teach you how to teach- a preschool teaching assistance is held to a higher educational standard.
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I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. ~ John Adams
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Old 03-10-2020, 03:18 PM
HoraceSwaby HoraceSwaby is offline
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It doesn't sound like you read the article.
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Old 03-10-2020, 05:17 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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Originally Posted by HoraceSwaby View Post
It doesn't sound like you read the article.
I read it- and stand by my observations.
It lists 6 specific points or things to look for in an instructor- none of which have anything to do with any kind of education or training in the art and science of teaching...
The points made are valid, and all have merit to varying degree, but what I describe is conspicuously absent- and absolutely essential to producing a quality instructor.
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I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. ~ John Adams
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:15 AM
HoraceSwaby HoraceSwaby is offline
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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
Not a bad article, but I see 2 flaws.

The first is the repeated plug for Mas Ayoob.
Mr. Ayoob is mentioned one time along with another instructor (Tom Givens) as having an instructor training program.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post

The second, and far more important, is the lack of any type of teaching/ instructing training or credentials. This is by far the most critical thing to look for.

"look for instructors who have taken courses that require a measured, standardized test of some sort to become an instructor, such as Rangemaster or Massad Ayood Group".

Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
The NRA certs don't teach you how to teach- a preschool teaching assistance is held to a higher educational standard.

"The minimum amount of training needed to teach concealed carry in many states is instructor certifications in NRA Basic Pistol and NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home. This is the bare minimum, though, and a good instructor will have many, many more hours of classes beyond this ."
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Old 03-11-2020, 06:06 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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Originally Posted by HoraceSwaby View Post
Mr. Ayoob is mentioned one time along with another instructor (Tom Givens) as having an instructor training program.

"look for instructors who have taken courses that require a measured, standardized test of some sort to become an instructor, such as Rangemaster or Massad Ayood Group".

"Massad Ayood Group"
"as noted trainer Massad Ayoob"


Ayoob is mentioned 2x in a very short article... that would be a plug in my book.

A "measured, standardized test to become an instructor" says nothing about training that instructor....

"The minimum amount of training needed to teach concealed carry in many states is instructor certifications in NRA Basic Pistol and NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home. This is the bare minimum, though, and a good instructor will have many, many more hours of classes beyond this ."

Many more hours of WHAT kind of classes? Since the theme of the article is shooting focused, the presumption is that these other "classes" are likewise shooting, and not teaching, classes. He talks extensively about going to different shooting schools, with different people, and getting a wide range of shooting experience- but says nothing about instructional education.
Not ONCE, anywhere in the article, does he mention training or education in teaching to be a pre-req for a good instructor- I can only presume because the author fancies himself an instructor, and has zero education in transferring knowledge and skills to another. Rather than being omitted, it should be a point unto itself, and the FIRST of the points made.

Some of the other points he focuses on aren't particularly critical, certainly not a GO/NO GO criteria for instructor selection... or not particularly strong points- again, the presumption is that the author is trying to capitalize on his strengths, and marginalize his deficiencies.

Hint: One is NOT going to become a competent instructor in a 1 day, weekend, or even weeklong "class" taught by gun nuts and not educators...
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I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. ~ John Adams
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  #19  
Old 03-11-2020, 09:01 AM
Kelso Kelso is offline
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Paul Howe at CSAT puts on Instructor classes. I took a Tac Pistol class theer last weekend and he said his instructor class starts this week. Check www.combatshootingandtactics.com for his schedule of classes.

Paul, Coy, and his other instructors were phenomenal over the weekend. The class had everyone from training first timers to SWAT team members and his teaching style is so smooth and low-key. He really is great, and I'm going to be taking other classes he offers.
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  #20  
Old 03-11-2020, 03:06 PM
HoraceSwaby HoraceSwaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
Not ONCE, anywhere in the article, does he mention training or education in teaching to be a pre-req for a good instructor-
The author mentions 2 instructor courses that cover adult learning theory.





Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
Hint: One is NOT going to become a competent instructor in a 1 day, weekend, or even weeklong "class" taught by gun nuts and not educators...
Strawman argument. The author never said you would.

Who was the instructor in your last multi-day shooting course?
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  #21  
Old 03-11-2020, 05:22 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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Originally Posted by HoraceSwaby View Post
The author mentions 2 instructor courses that cover adult learning theory.


Strawman argument. The author never said you would.

Who was the instructor in your last multi-day shooting course?
A course that "covers" learning theory, as a couple of 16 hours of time, is NOT an "instructor" course.
Learning to teach adult learners, at even the most basic level, is a solid 100 hours plus- without firing a round, and not even the mention of guns... after that, 50 or so hours of shadowing, another 50+ as an AI, then supervised time as a PI....

The courses mentioned in the article are gun courses, with some emphasis on instruction- so its not a "strawman" argument, they fall firmly into what I said does not make a competent instructor....

The theme of the article was what to look for in a quality instructor.... and education in teaching isn't mentioned directly; suggesting that its even eluded to is a stretch... as I said, its it's worthy of a paragraph in itself.

Vickers taught the last commercial class I went to; more recently, a few days here and there on Bragg.
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I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. ~ John Adams

Last edited by wccountryboy; 03-11-2020 at 05:24 PM.
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