Keesler AFB unveils innovative classroom environment for ‘Mach 21 Airmen’

  • Published
  • By Lisa Rich
  • 81st Training Support Squadron
The 81st Training Support Squadron held a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by an open house celebrating the completion of the SCALE-UP renovation project in Alee Hall Jan. 10 at Keesler Air Force Base. SCALE-UP stands for Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies.

In the 2018 Air Education and Training Command strategic plan, Lt. Gen. Steven L. Kwast, AETC commander, said as a command we mold warriors—shaping their attitudes, honing their skills, sharpening their minds, and helping them reach their full potential as individuals who have pledged their lives in the support of the Air Force and nation. He said AETC must grow and learn as they become the Air Force’s premiere 21st century learning organization.

In doing so, the 81st TRSS faculty and staff were retaught in order to innovate learning environments and promote appropriate technology and learning methodologies. This positions the faculty development flight on the forefront of this cultural change.

Promoting this vision, the 81st Training Group adopted the SCALE-UP approach. A pedagogy is a method and practice of teaching. This means instructors become the guide for students to actively engage in the content and learning experience in addition to fostering teamwork through collaborative learning.

Leading the effort, the faculty development flight enhanced active learning methodologies in the basic instructor course and transformed four traditional classrooms into innovative, active-learning environments for training new Air Force, Navy, Marine, and partner nation instructors.

Within a timeframe of only six months, collaboration between the 81st Training Group, 81st TRSS, 335th Training Squadron, base contractors, 81st Communication Squadron, 81st Contracting Office, 81 TRG resource flight and the entire faculty development team proved successful in realizing the SCALE-UP vision.

“Our mindset throughout the renovation project was always focused on creating the best student-centered learning environment for Airmen,” said William Smith, TDE Chief. “We’re excited to be at the forefront of training future instructors in 21st century teaching and learning methodologies.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted by Col. Leo Lawson Jr., 81st TRG commander and followed by an open house and self-guided tour of SCALE-UP rooms. The event was attended by leadership from 2nd Air Force, the 81st TRW and members of Keesler AFB’s honorary commander program.

Lt. Col. Stephen Arnott, 81st TRSS commander, was the guest speaker. He thanked everyone who helped bring the project to fruition and affirmed the 81st TRSS’ commitment to posturing the faculty and staff of the 81st TRG to lead the command as an innovative learning organization.

Attendance filled the SCALE-UP classrooms which showed how much the Keesler AFB training community is invested in aligning with the intent of the AETC strategic plan and in propelling the 81st TRG training mission.

“To see the attendees take part in the ceremony, tour the SCALE-UP classrooms, and engage with the faculty development staff is a testament to Keesler’s commitment to excellence in transforming the technical training culture,” said Kimberly Adams, faculty development flight chief.