Each season, at the beginning of December the Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) Program gathers OET staff members from across the Eastern Division for a weekend focused on leadership and professional development. This year’s conference was aptly named, Building Great Instructors. So, what makes an instructor great? The International Olympic Committee summarized it well.

What makes an instructor great?
1. Understands the sport and leads by example.
2. Sponge for knowledge.
3. Shares the knowledge with others.
4. Highly energized and a motivator.
5. Knows the student, values, and respects the relationship.
6. Is an effective communicator and teacher.
7. Is a good listener.
8. Is disciplined, strong in character and integrity.
9. Leads by example very high attitude for hard work.
10. Displays commitment and clear passion for the sport.

The OET program’s mission is to create an environment of learning that elevates the skills, ability, and techniques needed to safely and efficiently transport guests to a higher level of care. Delivering on this mission begins with building great instructors, and leaders, within the OET program.

The Learning Connection
During this year’s conference, OET leaders were introduced to the Learning Connection model developed by the Professional Ski Instructor Association (PSIA). The Learning Connection emphasizes that great lessons rely on the instructor’s ability to offer a blend of people skills, teaching skills, and technical skills. This approach creates informative, fun, and personalized experiences that keep students engaged in the learning process. To learn more about the Learning Connection, check out this write-up by PSIA.

OET Teaching Philosophy uses FIVE Essential components:
●  Lesson Progressions that chain together “snippets” to facilitate incremental success as a pathway for mastering skills.
●  Snippet-sized lessons with manageable objectives are designed to simplify guided practice, leading to quicker student success.
●  Ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation to re-teach skills, customizing faster student success, known as ADAPT.
●  Six-Pack Lesson Planning with an emphasis on creatively re-teaching and re-designing student activities, more ADAPT.
●  Individualized Positive Immediate Student Feedback is used throughout all learning activities, practiced as PISE.
●  Teach OET Instructors how to structure on-snow lesson activities.

To learn more about PISE and ADAPT, check out this Toboggan Instructor Refresher summary.

Bringing It Home – Building Great Instructors
An essential function of an OET Staff member is to build great instructors in their home region. The learning activities and professional development that Staff members access at the OET Conference help provide them with the tools to bring that knowledge home to their regions, where the Regional OET Advisors can leverage their conference experience into training their Regional Senior Training staff as well as influence training improvements for local mountain Toboggan Instructors. To learn more about the OET Program, visit PatrollerSchool.org.