3 of My Best Tips for Fire and EMS Educators

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Last week I presented at the Ohio Society of Fire Service Instructors Symposium on the topics of online education and social media content creation. I also had a chance to share some general classroom teaching tips. These are my three best:

Columbus Division of Fire training academy lecture hall

1. Start on time and end on time. You can’t always control the start time, but you can control the end time. Ending on time is an important part of honoring your student’s time.

2. Learn the names of all of your students as quickly as possible. For any course longer than four hours learning names is essential for connecting with the audience. On shorter program, such as a conference presentation, I try to arrive early enough to meet a few people in the audience that I can mention by name or call on during the presentation.

3. Ask, “What questions do you have?” to start a discussion/Q and A period instead of asking the discussion killer, “Do you have any questions?” The former is an invitation to ask a question. The latter is a yes or no that doesn’t allow a question to be the response.

Bonus Tip: The teacher is critical. The technology is useful. During my Friday presentations I had several technological mishaps as I was foiled by my computer’s virus checker. Despite all of my efforts I couldn’t implement the audience polling system I had planned to use. I am confident that because I know the material so well that I could be reduced to some sand on the ground and a stick and teach just about anything.

What are your top tips for fire and EMS educators?