Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama —
Instructors from the NCO Academy met this week in Gunter Annex, Alabama, to learn and discuss how to develop curriculum as the Air Force plans to update this level of professional training in the military over the next year.
The first four-day Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education Workshop of its kind began November 28 with the goal of expanding educators’ knowledge of curriculum development to improve the quality of future changes.
The workshop included 12 professional military educators from bases in Alaska, Germany, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida, and seven dedicated PME writers from the Barnes Center.
“The people [course writers] Those who do this full-time are doing a fantastic job, but every day the instructors see students bringing different questions, concepts and concerns to the classroom,” said Col. Anthony Babcock, commander of the Barnes Center. “We have to bring these things together.”
The workshop also gave the Barnes Center, the organization responsible for creating and delivering PME to the Air Force, an opportunity to receive information and ideas directly from class teachers, Dr. Patricia Maggard, Dean of Enlisted Professional Military Education at Barnes Center, on crowdsourcing. , said.
“What we find is that it’s harder to teach something when you don’t have input,” she said. “This gives the instructors the opportunity to have that voice as they are closer to the students at the academy.”
The NCO Academy is the second level of enlisted PME and develops Technical Sergeants about to enter the higher NCO rank into professional, war-fighting aviators capable of directing and leading teams in Air Force operations.
The new overarching curriculum for the 25-day academy focuses on developing skills needed to thrive as a team leader, strategic thinker and common war fighter. The current curriculum is academically sound, Maggard explained, but the Barnes Center is looking for lasting outcomes that are more closely related to improving military readiness.
Instructors and staff at the Barnes Center say they want to design course material that focuses on the qualities and qualities NCOs need, rather than developing lessons and tailoring them.
Ratings will also change, and academy students may see a reduction in speeches and written reports.