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Army Instructor Badges will Help Professionalize NCO Instructors

By Dr. Liston Bailey
Institute for NCO Professional Development

May 8, 2014

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NCOs who serve as instructors within the NCO Education System play a pivotal role in helping to support the Army’s Learning Model. The ALM relies on having a bench of talented instructors who understand adult learning principles and who possess the ability to maintain learner interest and engagement in Army classrooms.

During the past three years, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Institute for NCO Professional Development, or INCOPD, has devoted considerable time and effort to crafting a new conceptual framework for the selection, training, management and recognition of NCO instructors. The new NCOES Instructor Development and Recognition Program, or IDRP, organizes this framework and will further professionalize and enhance the profile of instructors. This new approach to instructor development is a necessary part of improving NCO training and education.

INCOPD sees the instructor development program as a way to develop facilitator skills while enhancing the professional credibility of instructors across the Army. The IDRP supports the Army Learning Model by transitioning NCOES instructors away from an over-reliance on slide presentations, lectures and direct instruction methods to facilitate new types of learning. The main goal of the instructor development program is to help instructors better apply their understanding of adult learning principles to facilitate learners’ understanding of NCOES course content.

The facilitator competencies the IDRP focuses on are consistent with internationally recognized standards for master facilitators and are developed by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction. Those interested in learning more about these competencies can consult TRADOC Regulation 600-21 as a reference. The new Army Instructor Badge will be used to recognize those instructors in NCO academies who have devoted time and attention to developing the facilitator competencies associated with this program.

It is noteworthy that IDRP does not change the main duties of NCOES instructors. Participation in the IDRP is voluntary, and NCO academy commandants should counsel instructors regarding this program to ensure those interested in participating fully understand the program’s requirements. In addition to serving time as a primary instructor, NCOs in this program will be routinely evaluated using the IDRP instructor-observation rubric. There are also training requirements associated with each level of instructor recognition — Basic, Senior and Master. NCO instructors participating in the IDRP will also be eligible for promotion points and a skill identifier.

Instructors assigned to NCO academies typically serve 24 months as an instructor and may require additional tours as an instructor to reach the Master Instructor level of recognition. However, instructors stabilized within an assignment for 36 months may be able to progress through all levels of the program during a single assignment. At the present time, there is no mandatory timeline for progression through each level of the instructor badges.

INCOPD developed the instructor badges to have greater impact — above and beyond the hallmark NCO roles as trainer and mentor — by further professionalizing instructors, who will also enhance unit training when they return to units outside the schoolhouse.

NCOs who are interested in participating in the IDRP should first contact their NCO academy commandant. For additional information regarding administrative requirements under this program, contact the INCOPD IDRP manager at (757) 501-5395.

Dr. Liston W. Bailey serves as a program analyst and chief of the Learning Innovations and Initiatives Division for the Institute for NCO Professional Development at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. He holds a master’s in education from Brooklyn College–CUNY, a master’s in public administration from Old Dominion University and a doctorate in education from Capella University.


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