Part of our task as professional motorcycle trainers is to assess where our students are at any given time. We need to know where "here" is in order to get them "there". We need to get to know them enough to see what their individual learning styles are. We adjust our approach accordingly. A lot of times it boils down to watching our students for the subtle signs they give us. It can require a lot of diligence and concentration.
Sometimes, though, the signs are more obvious than others!
Actually, these are instructors. I worked with my training partner Mary Kaye this last weekend. We conducted two long days of training we call "Instructor Prep: Range".
These sessions are conducted two to four times a year depending on our instructor needs. This is the first exposure to actually teaching a motorcycle safety class for these folks. The weekend consists of learning to keep students safe as they ride as well as working on coaching skills. It's a peer teaching environment. The new instructors rotate in as riders and instructors. We require the new instructors to be working on perfect riding technique as they ride. Which means that there aren't really any errors for those in the instructor roles to coach.
Enter our "Error Riders"! Which is the role that Dean ( with the cone on his helmet ) and Mike were fulfilling, among others. These crafty guys had to overcome their innate great habits and try to make mistakes on purpose. I'm pleased to say that they got quite skilled and tricky in this endeavour. When I introduced Dean and Mike to the group on Saturday morning, I told the new instructors that they would either come to love or hate these guys. I'm still not sure which side they've landed on!
Here's the victims. I mean, new instructors. There's one more just out of the picture. This was the only photo that showed nearly the whole group. Sorry, Laura!
The new folks were starting to get wise to our two "students". By the end, these two weren't getting away with much. In the photo below, you can see Dean riding the cornering proficiency drill during the evaluation. He's doing so under five pairs of increasingly observant and knowing eyes. How will he do?
Apparently, not too bad. The group is celebrating that, at long last, they finally got to see the "student" do something correctly! What they were really celebrating is the fact that they all got the same time on their stopwatches. I think my story is more fun, though, don't you? By the way, that's Laura on the right. I wanted to make sure she didn't get left out.
Here the group watches Mike as he comes into the quick stop evaluation. You can just hear them asking themselves, "What in the world is he going to do this time?"
These new instructors will go out into the field as apprentice instructors. Which means an experienced instructor will be at their side to cover their backs and help with on-the-job training. This group shows the fire and passion for rider safety you would expect from riding instructors. I've had the privilege of seeing a lot of new instructors off on their respective adventures. The prep weekends are a lot of hard work for everybody. The rewards will more than make up for it.
Speaking of hard work, I want to acknowledge my co-workers. Mary Kaye for her enthusiasm and skill that made everything work so much better and contributed to making the hard work fun for all, including me. Dean and Mike did so much more than ride this weekend. They worked extremely hard in getting bikes in and out of the trailer for the two days. When we were all done they gassed up all the bikes, loaded them into the trailer ( which is a lot of work as they all go in sideways ), and strapped the bikes down in preparation for the trailer being moved back to headquarters.
During the weekend Dean and Mike set all the cones for the upcoming exercises. On top of it all, they are both working into the training area themselves so they wore both hats during the weekend. Thanks so much, guys, you totally rock!
Miles and smiles,
P.S. Photo credit for this post goes to Leanne, our Office Manager. She came out Sunday and hung around with us. She used my camera but took some great photos in her own right!