The Value of Frequent Training
When I went through my Ph.D. program, I worked as a researcher at the University of Illinois - Chicago. We studied teacher behavior in classrooms that taught children with emotional and behavioral difficulties.
We worked extensively to develop an observational recording system. We trained our observers over the course of three months to gain accuracy and consistency in their observations.
We were aware of a phenomenon called “observer drift.” So even though we had trained our observers extensively, we also made sure that every few weeks we rechecked our inter-observer reliability (accuracy). We then had to retrain in order to correct for observer drift.
This issue arises anytime you train people in a set protocol. Over time, they begin to reinterpret concepts and skills. If left unchecked after a while, their implementation of the trained protocol begins to look very different from the original.
For this reason, I believe that retraining in the basic skills and concepts of the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program is imperative.
I also consider that my participants are not looking to go through the same activities in the same exact way year after year. I like to bring in new ideas and fresh activities, but those need to be consistent with the basic CPI protocol. Otherwise, I risk experiencing training drift, and I also risk my participants experiencing training drift, as over time my programs would no longer be consistent with CPI's standards.
When I attend renewal programs, I'm able to assimilate new ideas that have consistency with the original program. I also find it especially invigorating to have the opportunity to talk with others who are training staff in the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program. I like to hear how they address certain issues, and I like to learn how their staff react to the training program.
I believe this is one of the goals we're trying to accomplish with the regional chapters, and it takes on added meaning when all of us are training with one of CPI's Global Professional Instructors in a renewal program and we're using the context of the training program itself to interact.
I believe that ultimately, the goal of CPI and of all Certified Instructors is to move forward, to increase our understanding of crisis, to increase our skills in handling crisis, and to increase our skills in teaching others those understandings and skills. I find that this is best accomplished by frequently attending renewal programs, so I see the importance and value of renewing as an Instructor every two years. Recently, we saw a clear example of this as CPI rolled out the enhancements to the training program. This enabled us to enhance our abilities to teach our staff how to prevent and manage crisis much more effectively.
Dr. James Getty is a behavior specialist with the Schaumburg Community Consolidated School District 54 in the Chicago area. Dr. Getty is a Meritorious Certified Instructor who has been teaching school staff the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program since 1992.