View Full Version : Different Teaching Methods

March 28, 2009, 05:25 PM
I have searched through some threads, and found points that people want an instructor to know and such, and that really helped out. I am looking into becoming an NRA instructor in several different areas, but I just wanted to know what types and styles of teaching did ya'll like or dislike? What I mean is, do you like a classroom setting to begin with, or just going out to the range, the instructor showing what to do, and then you practice those techniques?

March 28, 2009, 07:34 PM
You might have better luck with your post in the Tactics and Training forum. orchidhunter

March 28, 2009, 07:52 PM
orchidhunter ~ good point! I'll move this ...

georgiaboy ~

My advice is to remember that everyone learns just a little bit differently. There are three basic learning styles, with lots of overlap and variations between them. The basic types are

Auditory: these people learn most easily by hearing a good explanation of what to do.

Visual: these people learn most easily by seeing what to do.

Kinesthetic: these people learn best by doing.

Here's the important point: Every class has all three types of learners in it. So you need to teach to all three types, every time. You’ve got to provide lots of verbal detail for the auditory learners, but not so much that you lose the eager kinesthetic folks while you’re doing it. You have to demonstrate the techniques for the visuals, but be sure to narrate what you’re doing while you’re doing it so you don’t lose the auditory learners. Meanwhile, keep a sharp eye on those kinesthetic people, because sure as shooting, one of them IS going to try to pull a firearm out of their holster while you’re talking about the drawstroke, unless you warn ‘em beforehand and stand ready to stop ‘em when they do. Every class includes all three types. So you teach to all three types, every time.

This is best accomplished, IMO, by following the old tried-and-true format:

Tell them what to do. (Lecture)

Show them what to do. (Demo)

Let them do it. (Action)

And never turn your back on a kinesthetic learner. It's dangerous. ;)


March 28, 2009, 08:08 PM
Tell them what to do. (Lecture)

Show them what to do. (Demo)

Let them do it. (Action)

Thats the militay style of instructing in every subject except I'll add a 4th

That being TEST


One thing that should never be left out is all people arnt the same, what works for one student may or may not work for another student. You have to pay careful attention to your students to adjust to fit them.

David Armstrong
March 28, 2009, 11:28 PM
If you are trying to become an NRA instructor, you will be given the specific sequence of instruction by the NRA and are expected to follow their lesson plan, so a lot of the options are removed.

March 29, 2009, 12:40 AM
actually, many would say there are 4 types of learners. here's a good source:


March 29, 2009, 01:12 AM
chopz ~

And many more would say that there are as many learning styles as there are people, because no two people are entirely alike. ;)


March 29, 2009, 01:27 AM
sorry if i offended. i thought the link might help.

March 29, 2009, 01:40 AM
Not at all offended! Sorry if it sounded that way. :)

Seriously am a little puzzled how to translate the link you gave into concrete terms to help a new firearms intructor/trainer. How does the four-part styles theory apply to a firearms class? What specific techniques should an instructor use to help students learn the material and the physical skills?


March 29, 2009, 03:56 AM
I like the salesman approach:
1. Tell them what you're going to say
2. Say it
3. Tell them what you said

I like a laid back kind of approach where the instructor is quick to point out that questions are welcome. Obviously keep it free from political bias as you are sure to have people from all different political persuasions there.

Also, try going to a few of the classes that you will be teaching. See what you like and what methods seemed to work. Afterwards ask a few of the students what they would have don differently. You can also this as you teach. Afterwards you could let people know that they can leave anonymous comments on your teaching style after the class is over. That way your teaching can get progressively better over time.

March 29, 2009, 10:23 AM
pax -

i would think that dividing a teaching session roughly into sections that appeal to each learning style will work best. there are those who excel with the abstract conceptualization, for example. for these people you explain the underlying reasons for each rule or concept, and plenty of explaining how and why things work.

others will benefit from hearing stories of how people have applied rules and concepts well or poorly, in really life situations, and what the outcomes were.

others just need to get in there and do it. if i were teaching handling of firearms i'd use rubber, fake guns, give lots of admonishments, and tell people "make all your mistakes here so you don't make them when using the real thing."

encouraging interaction between students (or not discouraging it, at least) might be the best way for a small portion of the students to learn.

March 29, 2009, 10:27 AM
I like a laid back kind of approach where the instructor is quick to point out that questions are welcome.

Here's one I learned from Marty Hayes at FAS (www.firearmsacademy.com): Always leave enough time in your outline to handle questions. If no questions are forthcoming, always have extra material available to shove into that slot.

If you're really good, when the class in front of you doesn't have any questions, you can simply answer the questions the last class asked at that point in the curricula. "Any questions? ... ... No? ... ... Okay, at this point sometimes people want to know _______, and here's what we teach about that ..."


March 30, 2009, 09:36 PM
IMHO The reason to teach is the need of the students.

For instance,

A group of Police Officers, working in a inner City environment are your class, the first thing you want to do, is explore the last 5 or 10 years of shootings, by any one, and every one. In that area.

Look for common denominators, build live fire and force on force classes, using that data.

Enter the raw data into the verbal classes, read the reports of the shootings (this can only work were the data is common knowledge) you will now see distances, rounds fired, time of the day or night, and amount of actors in these incidents.

You can now tune training, cut out things that do not fit, never use unrealistic magazine changes IE Fire 6 rounds, change mags? No.

This is reality training.

March 30, 2009, 11:11 PM
Just know if you are looking at becoming a NRA Certified Instructor, NRA pretty much has it blocked out for you. It's almost totally laid out in a block of instruction. Very similiar to the military or shall I say in a logical fashion. You have your outline, what points and how you will cover those points for each section. It's timed so you have to teach for that amount of time (believe me that's why a Basic Pistol Course is 10 hours).

NRA understands that people learn differently so they have visual aids and other hands on sections for almost everyone.

Now as to your question on how "us" learns. Now that's all over the place. We each learn differently as Pax and others have mentioned. We also come from vastly different backgrounds and experiences. Do know that NRA teaches fundamentals - these courses are not tactical in nature. Areas covered are Safety, Safe Firearm handling and basic marksmanship.

If you are thinking your going to teach a "combat or hardcore self defense course" - you might want to rethink your certification.

From an instructor level - what and where do you want to teach? For me I find that I like the one to one level of teaching new shooters but everyone is different.

If anything else: get your NRA certifications and go from there. At least you can have the basic credentials of becoming an instructor and then decide what you want to do with them.

March 31, 2009, 07:16 PM
These are all great suggestions and advice. I am currently coaching on the Marine Rifle Range this week, and while it sucks to be out there all day, on your feet, in miserable or great weather, I did use it to my advantage to teach my shooters better. It felt great to do so. Yesterday, I had a shooter who couldn't hit the target at the 200yd line, much less the 500yd line, but today, with the help from a HOG friend of mine, I got him to hit black almost all day. The only parts that he went off were the first few shots of each string on slow fire portions, but he did great. It was an awesome feeling to know that I helped him to get it right. The one thing that I'm finding is that I'm noticing what I need to teach more, and what I'm forgetting to teach or go over. Also I'm picking up on how to teach certain things. As much as I hate going out to the rifle range, I'm learning a lot. If anyone else has advice, I'll take all I can get.