• Learning methods to meet the student’s needs.
• A positive learning experience.
• Learning presented with both a present and future purpose.
• Learning must be voluntary.
• The knowledge gained from learning needs to be measurable.
• Learning must be affordable to all.
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Mean Old Master Sergeants
You will hear people refer to me as a mean old master Sergeant, and one of those people are going to be me. Therefore, I feel it important to explain to you what a master Sergeant is and what a master Sergeant does.
To the outside observer, a mean old Master Sergeant can seem rough and grumbly. Someone you really don’t want to cross. The rough facade you see is precisely that, a facade. Master sergeants and other senior non-commissioned officers are charged with helping the younger people who are learning their way in the military to make good decisions. The goal is that new members of the service learn how to be better soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen.
Looking at the desires and goals of the mean old master sergeant in that light, I am proud to be one. What makes me happy? When airmen have a tough choice and make the right decision. It means they are learning and are taking one more step forward to success.
As a mean old master Sergeant, I look for ways that others can find wins. What tells me I’m on the right track? When a young person in our service can come to me and ask a question of why. Why do we do it this way? This has several positive implications.
Asking a question of the rough and grumbly senior NCO means the person asking the question trusts the senior NCO. It also says that the questioner believes he or she will receive accurate information, and the person asked will not hold asking the question against the newer person.
Does this translate into the civilian world? You bet. To give an example, let me explain what happened once when I was teaching computers. Most of the clients learning to use the computers were older. And one day we picked up a much younger client.
The client didn’t really want to be there and was being pushed by others to take the class. The client started the class loud and noisy, demanding attention and irritating the rest of the students. I talked with the rest of the learners and told them just to give the person a little leeway, and in time, I was sure that things would work out well. As time went on, things in class quieted down. Then one day the student received a call and was overheard in the middle of the call saying that it was not a dumb class, it was an informative and enjoyable class with a lot of practical knowledge. Nothing warmed my heart more than hearing a student say that.
Mean old master Sergeants have a place in life, both in and out of the military service. If I did not use the skills I have learned over decades to help others, I believe I would be wasting a valuable resource.
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