Administration and Leadership, EMS Today Conference, News, Training

Richard Huff Offers Effective Teaching Methods at EMS Today

It’s time to freshen up our teaching methods and stop delivering boring lectures, said Richard Huff, NREMT-B, during his presentation, “Don’t Be A Slide Reader: Effective Teaching Methods for Today’s EMS Students,” delivered Thursday, at EMS Today in Baltimore, Md.

Huff said the idea for the class came from suffering through a class where the teacher started off by saying he had to rush through a series of PowerPoint slides. Huff, a former three-time chief of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Rescue Squad, said that was an all-too-common scenario that failed students. He urged those teaching and creating classes for today’s EMS staffers to be more engaged and more creative.

Huff asked attendees what kinds of classes they’ve taken that really excited them and then pressed them to decide whether it was because of the subject matter or if it was because of the teacher.

“Unfortunately, many systems are set up where students are fed a stream of boring lectures delivered by folks simply reading from slides and reciting numbers in a lifeless way,” Huff told attendees. “That creates a scenario where, often times, neither the students, nor the teachers, care about what happens in the room. Instead, they just care about racking up CEUS.”

Huff stressed the need for those overseeing training to assure the right teacher is aligned with the right class. He also urged all of the folks involved with teaching to be more creative.

“You can easily tell a class what the correct ranges for blood pressures in a child are and present them on a slide,” Huff said. “How about bringing a child or two into the class and let attendees take the children’s blood pressures?”

Additional points Huff made were:

  • The differences between learning techniques.
  • How the system fails students.
  • How to create experiential classes.
  • How to involve students by engaging them.
  • How to deal with the know-it-all students.
  • How to work in group activities, text messaging and online learning.

“We have to be better educators,” Huff told attendees, “and we have to care about what we’re doing and how we do it. If we can do that, we’ll be putting better trained, more engaged EMS providers into the field.”