Training recruits for solution-oriented thinking

Adults want to know the “why” of what they are being taught, and how that applies to what they will be doing with that information on the job. Adults bring mature reasoning skills to the learning environment. Trainers must stimulate the recruit to use those reasoning skills as soon as possible in the training cycle. Telling an adult how to perform a task without establishing the relevancy of the task to job application is simply indoctrination without setting context.

Relevancy means understanding context. Yes, we need to teach content: how to perform a search, how to apply a pair of handcuffs to a suspect’s wrists, etc. However, there are hundreds of ways to accomplish this and we refuse to be dogmatic about technique. If a recruit finds it necessary to modify a technique (or we find it necessary to modify it for him) and he gets the job done in a safe, efficient, and effective manner, then he has succeeded.

From Sgt. Steve Papenfuhs (ret.)
San Jose (Calif.) Police Dept.

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