Learning by “Word of Mouth”

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Commentary, Drill Teams, Honor Guard, Instructional 0 Comments

This year’s seniors were taught by last year’s seniors who were taught by the previous year’s seniors, etc., etc., etc. This is common in high schools across the country- unfortunately. No one reads the manual and the idea creeps in that we do it this way, meaning that at our school, we do “XYZ” like this. Where “XYZ” could be anything. Note: we’re not talking about exhibition drill (XD). When XD is the issue, do what you want, how you want! Back to regulation-type procedures.

In regulation drill (RD), you must teach from the manual. [Holding up megaphone] I repeat: you must teach from the manual. Here’s the problem: ‘I’ve been in JROTC for four years I’ve done XYZ plenty of times, I don’t need to read about it, so-and-so taught me’ and so the manual sits on the shelf for another year.

Ever play the “Phone Game”? Everyone sits in a circle and one person begins by saying something like “Your mother wears combat boots.” This short phrase is whispered only once to each person’s neighbor all the way around the circle until everyone has heard the phrase. By the time the last person hears it, the phrase in no way resembles the original, it’s completely different. So too, the “word of mouth” training technique.

How do you think training is accomplished in the military? By the book. From the book. Drill Instructors, Training Instructors and even honor guard instructors all either have the book at their side while training or they are boning up between training sessions. Not to mention other jobs. Lives depend on people doing their jobs correctly. When it comes to drill, lives do not hang in the balance, but you need to handle the small stuff well to be able to handle the big stuff well. What does this all mean? Read your service’s drill and ceremonies manual and other manuals that pertain to drill (flags, protocol, etc.).

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