Day Two of Training in Strongsville, Ohio

As this short trip comes to an end, we’ve had a great time working with folks from across the State of Ohio these past couple of days in our CERT Train-the-Trainer class.  I only wish we had a few more days to include a CERT Program Manager class.  I think the additional Program Manager class would be very helpful for this group as they are anxious for it.

Both yesterday and today proved to be very productive days in class.  We’ve had approximately 30 students actively engaged in learning.  By a show of hands, about 95% indicated they were involved in their local CERT programs (and this training) as a volunteer and not as a part of a paid for career position.  This fact illustrates the commitment these folks bring to the table.

In the previous CERT Train-the-Trainer curriculum, the foundation of the course was a review of the basic 20-hour CERT class and an unstructured leader-led discussion of “teaching considerations”.  Several years ago, FEMA rewrote the training curriculum where the focus moved to include a more structured approach to instructor development, along with a review of the basic CERT material.

Yesterday, we spent time addressing how to “Maximize Learning”, where we talked about how people learn.  The three primary learning styles we discussed were auditory, visual, and tactile.  We also talked about how those learners learn and how it impacts teaching and instructors.  We talked about how motivation, reinforcement, and repetition are also critical to the learning process.

We then spent time exploring why, as instructors, we need to evaluate.  The answer is simple … effective instructors know that they need to periodically assess to see that learners are learning.  Lastly, we discussed some guidelines for when and how to give feedback.

In the other instructor development units, we spent time level-setting student understanding of their “Role as an Instructor” where we discussed the focus of learning in any CERT training should be on the participant and not about the instructor.  We also stressed the importance of being a good presenter as well as a good instructor.  From there we discussed how to “Manage the Classroom” where we discussed the different learning styles among generations and how disruptive behavior negatively effects learning and strategies to overcome these challenges. This tends to be a very interactive unit with the learning happening primarily through discussion and exercise.  Many instructors-to-be are the most apprehensive about working with challenging learners but we help them over this with several good tips for how to deal with them.  I think our instructors will now have the skills necessary to be able to handle any situations that may arise.

Based on our Pre-test vs. Post-test scores, there was about a 40% increase in knowledge based on the class this weekend.  And in their evaluations, the vast majority of students enjoyed the class.  Learning and having fun is wonderful!

One of the students in our class was representing Fairfield County, Ohio.  from what she shared with me, the county Emergency Management Agency has a strong working relationship with their first responders.  They offer citizens free training in disaster preparedness as well as CERT Basic training two times a year.  One unique thing they offer is a disaster preparedness class for military veterans.  The county EMA’s website is

Take me out to the ballgame …..

So last night we grabbed some tickets and caught a baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals took the lead early in the game with a lead of 5-0, but then Cleveland rallied to take the lead later on when the score turned to 6-5.  In the end though, the Nationals would go on to win the game 7-6.

This was the first time for both Wilson or I to visit Progressive Field.  Overall, the park appeared pretty nice.  We were both hoping that they would be serving some “regional” food that we could try at the ballpark.  Unfortunately it was pretty standard fare …. Hot dogs, brats, and Italian sausages.  Not very exciting, but still good.  And last night was the “Tribe’s” second baseman Jason Kipnis souvenir shirt night.  Not sure when I’ll get the chance to wear this back in St. Louis, but heck … it was “free”.

Another Southwest flight delay?

Well, I’m sitting in the Cleveland airport waiting for my flight home.  Unfortunately, Southwest has again delayed another flight that I’m on.  My last three flights (maybe more) have been delayed!  Come on Southwest, you used to be my favorite airline.  One of your previous marketing campaigns was your ontime record, but this trend isn’t good.  I hope you get you act back together soon.  Well, it’s going to be another late night.

I’ve enjoyed sharing this trip with you.  I hope you’ll come June 26 when I plan to blog again.  I’ll tell you where, then.

I’ll leave you with these pictures from Cleveland …..


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