In Florida this week conducting the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program for a group of sixteen. Five out of our group are veteran Certified Instructors who are here to renew their certification with the Institute. This is beneficial for them as it provides ongoing training opportunities and practical testing. It also provides them a chance to bestow their experiences as Certified Instructors sharing best practices and facilitation techniques.
One of our participants told us about a situation that could have gotten someone seriously hurt. She described how one of the attendees at a training she was present at challenged the trainer about a certain physical technique. Apparently, the attendee told the trainer that he could get out of the physical restraint that was being demonstrated. The trainer accepted the challenge and the result was unproductive and somewhat embarrassing. The instructor ended up damaging their own credibility and the credibility of the technique as a result. This brings up a couple of points.
Firstly, while effective physical restraints are great at managing aggressive and irrational energy, they should not be looked upon as a way to “immobilize” someone. Immobilize means to prevent movement; to fix in place or make something or someone immovable. If we look upon restraints in that fashion then someone could end up getting hurt in either a real life situation or in a training environment. For example, the absence of movement in a person being restrained could end up decreasing their ability to breathe properly.
Secondly, training shouldn’t be looked upon as a way to duplicate reality. While participants in training may want to take the opportunity to make the training as realistic as possible, it is the instructor’s responsibility to limit or manage the realism. Getting too close to the edge of that cliff in a learning environment can sometimes have negative or even disastrous consequences. Then it’s not training anymore. Training should be intended to bring in as much actuality as possible, while still maintaining a safe training environment.
Excessive foul language, nasty name-calling, aggressive button pushing and physical violence are already present in unhealthy amounts in our workplaces; we should not feel it necessary to import them into our training environments. Instructors need to be able to set limits with the participants so that things don’t get out of control. If the trainer feels it essential to take physical restraint training to a higher level of realism, it is crucial that this element be strictly managed with strong cues, effective direction and break off techniques that will quickly terminate the procedure being practiced if things do get out of control.
Tailoring and customizing training to workplace realities should be a desire that all trainers have. Limiting and managing the amount of authenticity, on the other hand, has to be a requirement if we are going to be effective coaches and trainers. Safety and satisfaction should be first and foremost in our minds as trainers, but we don’t have to sacrifice those qualities for dangerous or offensive substance.
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