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How to Motivate and Train Occupationally Diverse Classes

By Kenny O'Rourke

I am a law enforcement, and emergency medical services instructor. I also train crisis response teams throughout the United States.

My classes range in size from 10 students to over 75. My students are generally police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, physicians, and mental health professionals. With this diversity in my classes I face several challenges trying to get people to participate.

In 2002 I read a review of Game Show Presenter in Presentations magazine. I decided to invest in the software, and I can say without reservation, itís one of the best choices Iíve made as a teacher!

As I used the software the first few times I saw how much people enjoyed it.

"When I have a mix of occupations in the class, I divide the group up so each competing team has members from each occupation."

After a few classes I developed a system for using the game. I started out by giving a "Pop quiz" before I even introduced myself. This gets peopleís attention, and sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. I based this quiz on general trivia, and if I were outside of Nevada I would add their state trivia to the quiz.

I then use the game as a review for each part of the day. A quiz before lunch to re-enforce the morningís information, and one after lunch to get peopleís thoughts back in the classroom.

When I have a mix of occupations in the class, I divide the group up so each competing team has members from each occupation.

Lastly, I give prizes! These range from a simple York Peppermint Patty after lunch, to tee shirts and hats at the end of the four days. I have found that my primary groups (police, fire, e.m.s., and mental health) are motivated at about the same level as a kindergartner! These professionals take their jobs, and training, very seriously, but they also love to have fun!

Thank you again for the great software and the way it has contributed to our training program!

Kenny O'Rourke is an instructor and trainer who has been using game show quizzes for 7 years to motivate and engage diverse occupational trainees. Kenny presents certification and other training nationwide for public safety agencies and corporations.

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