Over the weekend, I had the privilege to attend the Civil Air Patrol Training Leaders of Cadets course. The course was one and a half days under the tutelage of Lt Col BJ Carlson. I personally felt it was a well designed course but I would like to take a moment and bump it up against Wlodkowski’s Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching from his book Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn. I feel this is a useful exercise to help me better understand the framework.
If you remember, the framework is divided into four different areas, each having its own strategies. However, the strategies can be used wherever appropriate and are not restricted to a specific area. Here are strategies used within the class that specifically stood out to me.
Strategies for inclusion:
1. Allow for introductions – Once the safety briefing was completed, Lt Col Carlson introduced herself and then had all the students introduce themselves. The students came from different Wyoming units, and one student came from South Dakota. I was personally familiar with all of the students except for two.
3. Concretely Indicate Your Cooperative Intentions to Help Adults Learn – Lt Col Carlson was forthcoming in announcing her desire to help everyone in the class. She indicated she was available to assist even after the course was completed. She provided her contact information.
4. Share Something of Value with your Adult Learners – Lt Col Carlson took time to explain how she became part of the Civil Air Patrol and how she ended up working with cadets.
6. Clearly Identify the Learning Objectives and Goals for Instruction – At the beginning of the course, Lt Col Carlson outlined the agenda for the course, explained how the workbook was organized and related to the agenda, and explained the goals of the course and how they tied into the whole of Civil Air Patrol.
7. Emphasized the Human Purpose of What is Being Learned and Its Relationship to the Learners’ Personal Lives and Current Situations – Actually, this was emphasized throughout the course. In each section, Lt Col Carlson would tie the topic to the cadet program and how we interacted with the cadet program.
11. Acknowledge Different Ways of Knowing, Different Languages, and Different Levels of Knowledge or Skill among Learners – While not specifically addressed as part of the course, it was included as subtopic for one of the blocks of instruction. I was pleased to see this discussed as part of section for developing lessons for a unit meeting.
Strategies for developing positive attitude:
14. Use Differentiated Instruction to Enhance Successful Learning of New Content – Not only was the course supplemented with a course guide, Lt Col Carlson continuously handed out additional resources as well as point out resources found on the Internet.
19. Use Relevant Models to Demonstrate Expected Learning – During the hands-on team building exercises, the adults were grouped with the cadets. The provided an opportunity to learn from the younger members of the organization, but it also provided us with a brave group of demonstrators.
20. Encourage the Learners – Throughout the instruction, Lt Col Carlson provided encouragement. This was particularly noteworthy during the hands-on team building exercises.
26. Make the Learning Activity and Irresistible Invitation to Learn – Lt Col Carlson chose three interesting team building exercises to try. These exercises were typically used with the cadets, however, as leaders of cadets she believed we should try them to get a feel for what our cadets go through.
Strategies for enhancing meaning:
28. Provide Frequent Response Opportunities to All Learners on an Equitable Basis – Lt Col Carlson did a great job managing the classroom. She provided ample opportunities to provide input. While the class was very interactive, she did take time to call on people who were not as active to get their input.
30. Provide Variety in Personal Presentation Style, Modes of Instruction, and Learning Materials – I felt the course did a great job varying the instruction modes. The course was primarily a guided discussion style course; however, the course did have a number of case studies to review, hands-on exercises, and worksheets. The course was supported with a visual PowerPoint presentation.
32. Selectively Use Breaks, Settling Time, and Physical Exercises – Adequate breaks were provided. Also students, could take a break as needed.
35. While Instructing, Use Humor Liberally and Frequently – Lt Col Carlson is very personable, and she likes to keep a light-hearted classroom.
37. Selectively Use Examples, Analogies, Metaphors, and Stories – Over the one and a half days, Lt Col Carlson used countless stories to help illustrate her points. I am confident, she provided at least one story for each subject block but often more.
43. Use Case Study Methods to Enhance Meaning – In the course curriculum, there were no less than 15 case studies to work through. Most of the case studies were very small, however, they did adequately illustrate the points in the lesson.
Strategies for Engendering Competence:
60. Provide Positive Closure at the End of Significant units of Learning – Lt Col Carlson clearly delineated the different course models. The end of the course was punctuated by a small graduation ceremony with course completion certificates.
This was a very useful course even for someone who has had a lot of experience with the cadet programs. Lt Col Carlson did a great job with the course material, and I was pleased to see that our National Headquarters implemented so many sound instruction principles into the course.