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ClearText from Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute
ClearText 2010, No. 2 • September 13, 2010  

The Teaching/Learning Process: Student Responsibilities

The teaching/learning process is a shared responsibility between instructor and student. This ClearText edition explains student expectations and offers guidance on how to succeed in KF&RTI courses. Follow these guidelines, and you greatly increase your chances of success on certification exams. Choose not to follow, and you may find it difficult to pass certification exams.

Students must be engaged and active participants. Ask questions, participate in discussions, complete assignments and make an effort to learn not just "what's on the exam," but the course content too. Pay attention to lesson objectives, and make sure you understand related materials. Learn the material presented in the course, and the test will take care of itself. The effort you put into studying course materials will proportionately increase how much you learn.

READ ASSIGNED MATERIALS from the text! Certification-based courses are like college courses. Reading assignments are part of the process! There is not enough time to cover every detail in lectures and presentations. You are required to learn materials on your own—from the text. Without reading assignments, most certification-based courses would have to be twice as long.

Because of higher costs for you and the Institute (overtime, travel, etc.); scheduling difficulties and other hardships, lengthening the course is unrealistic. Given those limitations, we must rely on you to do your part by reading the assigned materials. Frequently, we have found that students do not read the assigned materials. When instructors observe students removing the cellophane from their text during the first class, there is little doubt that the reading assignment has not been completed. At that point, the student is already behind and will have GREAT difficulty catching up.

Practice is critical in the teaching/learning process. Don't make the instructor drag you out to the drill ground. Be ready to devote enough energy to practicing the skills—not just the hands-on skills, but the knowledge components too! Make sure you are practicing the skill correctly. Practice wrong, and you will do it wrong on the fireground (and in the test)! Practice knowledge components by answering quiz questions in your text; do homework assignments completely; quiz each other on reading assignments; strive for complete understanding—not just rote memorization of facts.

Don't "practice until you get it right." "Practice until you can't do it wrong!"

If you have questions or are unsure about a skill, technique or information, ask the instructor. Instructors want to help and are willing to put in extra time to give you individual help.

Finally, forget about the "old days" of attending class and getting credit by virtue of occupying a seat for the required length of time. Those days are gone. No one can afford a poorly skilled firefighter. As much as any other hazard you face, a lack of understanding and skill can get you killed!

Instructors are responsible for the teaching component; as a student, you are responsible for the learning part.

Next Issue

The Teaching/Learning Process: Instructor Responsibilities

Future topics:   • National Certification Explained
• Preparing for National Certification Exams

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