Building Technical Skills and Fluency in the 3Rs SimultaneouslyAs reported in the February issue of Marine News, the El Camino College Workplace Learning Resource Center (WpLRC) has recognized the value of combining training in technical skills with as-needed assistance to learners in strengthening their reading, writing and math skills:
Because so many [sea-going] trainees struggled with the reading and math skills necessary to pass the certification requirements, this past year the WpLRC began integrating basic skills instruction into their STCW [Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping] training. As an example, trainees now get instruction in performing conversions in measurement from English to Metric and for temperature conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius. Reading and writing skills are integrated into instruction for completing loading plans and for completing Declaration of Inspection (DOI) forms.In general, I would argue as I did in this earlier post that every training program that can incorporate as-needed assistance with the 3Rs should do so.
There is a perfecly sound presumption that training should be tightly focused on specific learning objectives. My own view is that well-designed training can maintain focus on agreed job skill needs while simultaneously helping individuals address reading, writing and math gaps. This is especially true in the classroom setting, where the facilitator can provide individualized help with exercises.
The key is to integrate remedial training in a natural, low-key way. It is also important to handle this element of a training session in a manner that builds on skills specific individuals bring to the class (as opposed to embarrassing participants by highlighting gaps in their command of the 3Rs).