Why does this all matter to learn how to shoot better? Great question. Firstly, it matters because we need the why from others and need to give them a why from the instructors so there is a mutual understanding of the reason for being there. Second, we want the shooters to REMEMBER what is taught to them. That is done through making sure the information passed is resonating with them.
So far this has all been two forms of communication that is effectual to auditory learners and reading/writing learners. In order to reach the other types through kinesthetic and visual methods there’s many things an instructor/teacher can do. From drawings, photos, videos, physical demonstration whether by them or using someone else as an example, to allowing the students to physically try it right there on the spot. The general educational model in the United States wasn’t designed for people to learn this way unfortunately, because its wildly important for learning to be a dynamic thing that happens in and around someone’ space. Especially when dealing with a precise skill dealing with a firearm that can cause death or injury unwontedly.
Throughout the course, shooters should be encouraged to try, ask, test, develop, experiment with as much as is needed for them to learn the skills and knowledge they are seeking out and paying for. This promotes a trusting classroom that gives students/shooters the allowance and understanding they may need to step outside of their comfort zone.
One EXTREMELY important aspect for an instructor to keep in mind is the specific language they use when speaking to the class or individual shooters. People pick up on who someone Is through the language they choose to use. In a class that requires passing knowledge and demonstration, it is easy for some people’s egos to flare and their pride to swell and that will come out in their teaching. Phrases such as “do it how I do it, this is how I do it, this is the right way, yours is the wrong way” tend to push learners away from connecting with their instructor. It’s imperative that we who pass the knowledge remember that the class is about them, the shooters, not us, the teachers.
To touch on one final aspect of all this we will go back to the beginning. “What is your reason for training/background with firearms?” These two questions and subsequent answers offer the instructors a lot of information as to the place in each individual’s firearms journey, they are on as well as how we can better relate the information being passed on. A majority of all shooters that I have taught have all answered with the primary reason for them seeking knowledge is for personal/familial defense. However, many come from a background of hunting where they learned from their fathers and grandfathers and so on. Some have other types from military, police, competition, airsoft, or even video games. The important thing is now the teacher/instructor has a pathway to better connect the information they are passing on to their shooter through a route that they were being introduced to it in already. This is a powerful method in that it has already shown to resonate with them as it brought them to the class in the first place. An example would be if a shooter told a story about “one time I was trying to shoot an Elk that was in a gully below me. He was at 100 yards, which is where I zeroed but no matter what I did I couldn’t hit him and didn’t know why.” A common mistake a lot of hunters have made in differing fashions throughout the years. The instructor can explain why through their knowledge. Focusing on the shooting application of the story to answer they “why” they are seeking.
Sharing experiences and stories is as old as our species, yet it is how that is done that is crucial to developing others into the shooters we hope they will be. Which in my case, I hope they become far better and more experienced than myself so that I can go to their classes.
In closing, communicating to the students, audience, shooter, or whomever it is, is best done by creating an environment that they feel open to giving and receiving information without concern of tripping theirs or other egos. As well as providing and creating a framework of language that can be utilized effectively and efficiently for everyone.
One last note, remember to GET OUT & BANG!
- John “Weapon Snatcher” Carughi