Putting Theory Into Practice
The more I learn about education theory, the more I wish I had studied it earlier. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve encountered my share of complex and crazy theories. But so much that I’ve learned in the past five years of a 35-year career as an emergency services educator has helped me move closer to becoming the kind of educator I want to be.
For example, every educator knows Robert Mager’s ABCDs of learning objectives. But if you take a moment to grab one of his books, you’ll see that he’s also an amazing thinker and very practical instructional designer who also happens to be the kind of master of metaphor and analogy that can help you grasp the point he’s trying to get across to help make you better at setting targets that matter and coaching students to achieve them more often.
Likewise, reading John Dewey’s incredibly short book “experience and education” has inspired me to renew my focus on practical education and delve more into how I can apply David Kolb’s experiential learning model in my fire and EMS programs. It’s true that some of the research and textbooks are more clinical and complex. But a quick Google search will usually get you a well-written article or a blog post helping to connect Siri with real-world practice. That’s something that I’m trying to do with my column in EMS World, “Duckworth on Education.” I’m no expert, but I’m an enthusiast with a lot of practical experience. I love reading about Benjamin Bloom and his taxonomy (that he only wrote a small part of) to Albert Bandura and his social learning theory (how important it is for students to see “how it is REALLY done around here”), and others.
Today I’m heading to Louisville, Kentucky, to teach at the NAEMSE EMS Educators’ Symposium. I look forward to meeting with colleagues, hearing what they had to say, and learning about new problems we are facing as educators and new solutions that other people have found. If you’re headed that way or to any of the other conferences or events you see on my calendar, hit me up by email or on Twitter @RomDuck or @RescueDigest I’d love to say hi! If not, reach out to me in the same way if there’s a particular topic you would like to see addressed in Duckworth on Education, and I’ll see what we can learn together!