AF military training leader schoolhouse improves curriculum

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Duncan McElroy
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
The 81st Training Support Squadron’s Military Training Leader Course recently graduated its first class of MTLs, using the schoolhouse’s new course curriculum.

The four-week course, upped from two weeks, boasts a level of hands-on, practical application.

“One of the unique opportunities of having this schoolhouse on Keesler (Air Force Base) is the opportunity to integrate it with the base’s mission,” said Master Sgt. Kyle Mullen, a 81st TRSS schoolhouse instructor. “Since the wing’s mission is founded on technical training, we’ve been able to plug our students into the overall training mission and give our future MTLs firsthand experience with the training environment they’ll be transitioning to.”

In an effort to take the idea of on-the-job training further than before, each class of the MTL course has a ‘host squadron’ from the 81st Training Group that folds them into the squadron’s operations and offers a focus point on which to apply the classroom instruction.

“Whether it’s room inspections, physical training, mentorship or counseling, our NCOs are afforded a chance to see and interact with firsthand what they’ll be doing, before they put on the aiguillette,” Mullen said. “As an MTL, our job is Airmen; our job is people. So integrating hands-on time with those Airmen in training right from the get-go helps ensure our MTLs are the best they can be at taking care of people.”

To supplement the training squadron integration and traditional lecture portions, MTL course students also interact with Airmen who are in training throughout the course to help polish interpersonal skills.

“Being able to sit down with a non-prior service Airman and work on how to communicate was empowering,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Hart, a 334th Training Squadron MTL and recent distinguished graduate of the new curriculum. “Simply put, we’re here to serve the Airmen. And with time, attention and passion we can do that. I learned that it’s all about taking an active role in development, both in ourselves and our Airmen.”

As a constantly evolving course, the instructors and curriculum developers have worked to weave students’ own values into the lessons. By doing this, rather than simply providing a set outline of ideals, it offers the NCOs in attendance a chance to form their own perspective on their identity as MTLs, as well as opportunities to discuss outlets to always make a positive impact on their Airmen.

“The benefits of this are twofold,” Mullen said. “By using their values we can personalize the course in a way that allows us to provide the students a more individualized experience.”

Mullen said it also allows MTLs to put everything they’ve learned to practical use and take “ownership of the course material."