Health & Safety Institute Blog

September 21, 2012

Making a Difference in Emergency Care Training

Between the preparation, staying current with your skills and knowledge, and all the paperwork, where do you find time to actually teach? And then throw into the equation that you have to stand up in front of a group of strangers over and over again in order to share your knowledge, and you quickly realize that teaching is exhausting and takes a tremendous amount of effort to stay on the top of your game.

Teaching can be challenging to say the least, but on the other hand, very rewarding. Good teaching is as much about our passion for what we teach as it is about the actual skills we teach. What we teach makes a difference in people’s lives, so it’s easy to be passionate about this. And while it may not happen for every student we teach, or every other student, we know that somewhere, sometime, the training that we provide to one of our students will absolutely make a difference in that person’s life and the life of the person they help, and that’s a pretty good feeling as an instructor; that you are making a differenceCPR/First Aid Training, ASHI, MEDIC

To further echo this, be sure to check out HSI Marketing Programs Manager, Kristine Rice’s blog posting, Why Emergency Care Training Matters Most, where she talks about her travels through Florida talking with instructors, and hearing their stories of “making a difference”. The stories are truly compelling. 

Like you, these instructors practice their craft, and stay current with their skills and knowledge to better assure they will continue to have a positive impact on their students. So with this and the mantra “that a good teacher never stops learning” in mind, here are a few suggestions that may help to enhance your teaching:

  • Each class is different from the last. Remain flexible in how you approach every class as each generally will present new twists or turns that you may or may not anticipate. Remember, there are always alternatives in how we accomplish things, so be careful not to be so rigid in how you do things that while a technique used would not necessarily be the way you would do it, ask yourself if it meets the intent of what you are trying to accomplish?

  • Get out from behind the lectern. You look much more relaxed and confident by moving around the room while you are reinforcing important information. You do this when students are working on skills, so why not employ the same strategies for discussion points.

  • Avoid paying too much attention to a single student or a small group of students. It’s important that all students feel part of the class.

  • Don’t just hear what is being said; listen to what is being said. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens – it is passive. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do – it is active. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences. Listening leads to learning. Take care to focus on what a student is saying and be sure to allow them to finish before you respond.

  • Have a good time when you’re teaching. People are naturally drawn to humor and by being self-deprecating and not taking yourself too seriously, you’ll likely find that this breaks the ice and students learn in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Now, let’s look at things from a students’ point of view to help you enhance your teaching:

The Memorial University of Newfoundland presented a study on Students' Perceptions of Effective Teaching in Higher Education. Researchers asked their students this question: What characteristics are essential for effective teaching from the student perspective?

In face-to-face classes, students expect their instructors to be:

  1. Respectful
  2. Knowledgeable
  3. Approachable
  4. Engaging
  5. Communicative
  6. Organized
  7. Responsive
  8. Professional
  9. Humorous

And in online classes, students expect their instructors to be:

  1. Respectful
  2. Responsive
  3. Knowledgeable
  4. Approachable
  5. Communicative
  6. Organized
  7. Engaging
  8. Professional
  9. Humorous

It’s interesting to note the premium students in this study placed on the instructor being more “responsive” in online classes (#2) compared with face-to-face classes (#7). This is likely because the act of immediacy is more apparent in a face-to-face classroom setting where an instructor is able to immediately respond to a question or comment. Online classrooms present challenges for students in this regard, especially when they have a question. This is definitely something to keep in mind as you work with blended learning models of training.

So, if teaching takes all this effort, why did we put ourselves out on a limb to become instructors in the first place, and why do we continue to train people in something as important as saving lives? Will Rogers once said, “why not go out on a limb, it’s where the fruit is”, and in this instance, the fruit is the knowledge that we are helping others to learn the skills to help another, and what better fruit could we possibly hope for?

Besides, if teaching was easy, everyone would be doing it! 

Login to the virtual conference, Branching out with Technology, on November 7th for my session Practice What You Teach. Branching Out with Technology - Virtual Event


Jeff Myers, Vice President 

Jeff Myers, Training









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