(5) Practice. Following demonstration, students should be allowed to
practice the procedure. This is the best method to assure learning of a skill. As time
permits, the initial practice session should take place immediately after the
demonstration. The closer to the demonstration the practice is held, the fewer the likely
errors. While practice is being done, you should make on-the-spot corrections. These
corrections are the most valuable part of their practice sessions. Good corrections will
keep the students from picking up bad habits and practicing incorrect procedures.
These corrections are required for learning a skill.
b. Informal Evaluations. The on-the-spot corrections (See figure 4-4) are a
major part of the informal evaluations. Depending on the skill and the level of mastery
required, you may also decide to hold individual or small group conferences with the
students. If you find that many on-the-spot corrections are required, it may be
necessary for you to repeat the demonstration. If some students are performing the
task much better than others, use these students as peer trainers. Let them help those
students who are having problems mastering the skill. If necessary, provide these peer
trainers with special coaching sessions. Practice should continue until the students
have reached the desired level of proficiency.
(1) Elements of corrections. Those corrections that you make during
student practice sessions should consist of the following:
(a) State what was wrong- be specific.
(b) Tell why it was wrong - and why it is important that it be done right.
(c) Show/tell how to perform the procedure correctly - and how this
differs from the way the soldier performed it.
(d) Allow the soldier to practice the correct procedure.
(e) Use constructive methods for making corrections ("You will find that
this way works better," rather than "How could you be so stupid?").
Example: CPL Jones, a Combat Medical Specialist has left a
blood pressure cuff in place too long while attempting an
intravenous insertion. In the figure below, note the elements
indicating problems and the corrections.
(2) Immediate praise. When students are doing the skill correctly, a word of
praise is warranted. A mention that the soldier is doing a good job can help to cement
learning. We tend to remember skills better when we receive a verbal pat on the back.
You might mention why the performance is correct, using this rather than demonstrating
the skill again yourself for those students who still need help.