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The USAIC instructor training course.

What does the U.S. Army Intelligence Center's (USAIC) Instructor Training Course (ITC) have to do with Critical Thinking? In the ITC (hosted and taught by the Staff and Faculty Division) students are taught the basics of instruction to successfully complete their assignment as trainers throughout USAIC and Fort Huachuca. After thirteen days of training, practical exercises, and two graded instructional presentations, students possess the core skills to write and present Critical Thinking lessons using lecture, demonstration, and practical exercise methods of instruction.

Early in the course, students are exposed to test development, and learning objective and lesson plan development from the viewpoint that training should be realistic and challenging. Once the mechanics of developing criterion-based learning objectives, based on clearly defined standards that measure training at the appropriate cognitive level are learned, the students are ready to develop a learning objective. Students complete a practical exercise during which they use Critical Thinking to analyze a given topic and figure out what the end state or core skills should be and write a learning objective that matches the desired end state.

From that point, ITC students select a military topic for a lecture, prepare a measurable and observable objective, and prepare a lesson plan and slideshow from which they present a thirty minute lecture. They receive training in questioning techniques as part of the course and are encouraged to include scenario based and/or probing questions in their lesson plans and presentations to actively engage students in the learning process. Incorporating these types of questions into their training materials right from the start of ITC requires rudimentary Critical Thinking skills that the new instructors will hone as they mature during their instructional assignments.

Students also receive instruction and complete a practical exercises in the areas of cultural awareness and the contemporary operating environment with the intent that they will incorporate those two aspects in their lesson plans as well. Once they receive a passing grade on the lecture presentation, and instruction on demonstration and practical exercise methods of instruction, students develop and present a fifty minute training session that includes a demonstration followed by a student centered practical exercise.

After students graduate from the ITC they return to their units to instruct within an Intelligence School course and in a subject in which they are subject matter experts. Ideally, the new instructors will have mentors who will work with them to develop lesson plans that incorporate Critical Thinking and improve their performance as instructors.

Incorporating Critical Thinking into training starts with determining what core skills you want your students to possess when they leave your lesson/module/course and then writing your objectives to match. You need solid criterion-based objectives written at the appropriate cognitive level using some type of taxonomy. The U.S. Army Training Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet 350-70-5, Systems Approach to Training: Testing, recommends using Bloom's Taxonomy for developing testable objectives.

It is critical that those of us who teach the ITC prepare the new instructors at Intelligence Center for their mission of training the soldiers who may deploy to a war zone shortly after completing their courses. To get students to the critical and creative thinking levels that are so important for them and their future missions, objectives need to be written at the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. At the ITC, we stress that as part of their course work, the students should be applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating intelligence and intelligence products. It is the instructor's responsibility to develop training materials that support those types of Critical Thinking activities.

Joann Kiyabu is an Instructional Systems Specialist with the Staff and Faculty Division at USAIC, Fort Huachuca, Arizona and is the Course Manager and Instructor for the Test Development Workshop. She also teaches in the Instructor Training Course (ITC) and the Systems Approach to Training (SAT) Course and is a former Course Manager and Instructor for the Small Group Instructor Training Course (SGITC). Ms. Kiyabu's other DA civilian and contractor assignments include Chief, Course Development Branch; Training Specialist at the MI NCO Academy; and Technical Editor for Wang Government Services. Ms. Kiyabu is a retired U.S. Army 98G, Korean Linguist, with assignments that included Production and Support Analysis Team Member, 741st MI Battalion, and Collection Supervisor, 2nd Infantry Division and 125th Infantry Division. Ms. Kiyabu is a Master Instructor and holds an MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Arizona. Readers may contact her via email at joann.kiyabu@us.army.mil
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Author:Kiyabu, Joann
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Words:748
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