|Who are you to test me?|
|By Joe Bouchard|
The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.
Experience is a great teacher. Consider the exciting act of riding a roller coaster. One can read about the angles, speed, and duration of a ride. One can hear about the wind, the rush of adrenaline, and the anticipation of getting in the car and the point of no return. Still, nothing rivals experiencing the actual ride.
The same is true in corrections. I find that the most potent lesson that I can deliver to pre-professionals is in a tour of a facility. Certainly, I can marshal creative words to form descriptive and accurate stories of how it is ‘on the inside’. Students can read the works of corrections experts that I suggest or that they find. But there is no substitute for the experience of an actual tour. A student could learn more in five minutes ‘inside’ than from a whole semester of lecture.
Relative to a tour, when is the best time for instructors to solicit questions about the workings of a prison or jail? Certainly, you should answer students’ questions as they arise. Here are some thoughts:
When the class is assembled in a classroom after a tour or a demonstration, the instructor will divide the class into groups of 3. The class is instructed that each team will create a test about the tour or demonstration. Their classmates will take the test that they create. Naturally, each team will not take their own test, but will take all test prepared by other teams of classmates.
Give the students what you think are necessary parameters. Remember your own teaching style when setting these limits. Some instructors make a well-defined, limited teaching experience while others have students run free with creativity. So, each instructor has the option of a highly structured exercise, a high-scope paradigm (do as thou wilt sort of exercise), or anything in between. Consider the needs and personalities of your students.
Here are some notes for the process and some limits or suggestions you may offer to student as they craft their tests for their cohorts:
Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.
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