Teaching Military Officers

Passionate, Competent, and Relevant…with a Dash of Humor

My philosophy for teaching Army officers involves four tenets, which are Passion, Competence, Relevancy, and Humor.   These four areas are pillars from which I work as I prepare to teach a lesson.   I believe these are important to help me connect with the military student.
The military environment of today is stressful and complex.   I find officers have little tolerance for classes or activities that seem a waste of time.   I believe it is extremely important to connect with the military student through demonstrating why he or she should care about the topic of instruction.   If I cannot create that “buy in” early in the class I find it is difficult to hold the student’s interest and attention.
Passion is important in two ways. One, students must see that I am passionate about my topic.   Second, students need to understand that I am trying to pass this passion on to them.   If this connection occurs, it causes students to sit forward, pay attention, and ask questions. It will ideally ignite a desire for them to keep learning on their own after the class is over.
This desire to learn can be fed by showing them why my topic is relevant to them.   Students must see that the subject is important to them, to their Soldiers, or to the Army.   Once they see this relevance, they engage their thinking and start asking questions designed to expand their knowledge and understanding in this area.   This effect can produce some exciting discussions.   It is also why I need to be competent in my subject area.
Competence is always desired when teaching a subject.   It becomes extremely important when military officers become engaged and start asking questions.   The questions the students raise can explore areas of a subject that faculty notes or lesson plans didn’t consider.   That is why I want to understand my subject thoroughly, before this occurs.   While I might not know everything on a topic, a solid grounding in...