Making Good Instructors Great: USMC Cognitive Readiness and Instructor Professionalization Initiatives
MARINE CORPS TRAINING AND EDUCATION COMMAND QUANTICO VA
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After a decade of waging unconventional conflicts, Defense stakeholders now generally accept that the US military has entered a new era of warfare, distinguished from previous generations by its prevalence of insurgent and terrorist tactics, frequency of non-kinetic tactical dilemmas, complexity of the sociocultural context, and emphasis on operational decentralization. To excel under such conditions, each warfighter--down to the lowest echelons--must possess a high degree of cognitive readiness, that is, the mental, emotional, and interpersonal skills that allow himher to rapidly decide and act in complex, dynamic, and ambiguous environments. Each of the US Armed Services is addressing cognitive readiness training differently. The Marine Corps, for instance has embarked on two related, large-scale efforts. First, the USMC Training and Education Command TECOM established the Small Unit Decision Making initiative in order to improve the ability of small unit leaders across the MAGTF to...assess, decide, and act while operating in a more decentralized manner Implementation Planning Guidance, p. 9. To achieve this, TECOM personnel and academic advisors are translating advanced instructional methods into actionable forms e.g., militarized handbooks, instructor development seminars and launching a pilot course in spring 2012 for noncommissioned officers on decision making. Second, TECOM personnel are examining instructor career progression, looking for strategies to enhance Marine Corps instructors, writ large. In other words, TECOM is looking to take Marine instructors from good to great. In this presentation, we will discuss the instructional principles in use by the Small Unit Decision Making and Instructor Professionalization efforts. Specifically, we will describe key instructional strategies for engendering complex cognitive skills and science-based recommendations for making good instructors even better.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations