Today’s security environment changes frequently, so it is essential that leaders are able to act according to a higher purpose, make decisions independently, take initiative, and be ready to cooperate with allies. Leaders must be flexible and cope with diff erent, and unfamiliar situations. To achieve this, training must be student-centered. It is necessary to find the right balance between teaching the skills and developing a cadet’s cognitive abilities. Using certain teaching methods is the easiest way to achieve this. Therefore, the present thesis focuses on studying the application of the most common teaching methods used in the Estonian Defence Forces, and seeks to ascertain the degree of awareness of these methods.
The study tries to answer the following questions:
1) What are the teaching methods known by the instructors of the NCO
2) Which methods are used most commonly?
3) What is the choice of these methods based on?
To attain this goal relevant literature and research were studied. The first part of the study describes the teaching methods most commonly used in the Estonian Defence Forces and then highlights their positive and negative aspects. The second part presents the main results of the study. To achieve this, a questionnaire consisting of nine questions, including openended questions and multiple-choice questions was administered. The questionnaire was electronically designed and sent out to active servicemen who had taken part or were taking part in NCO courses.
The second part of the study focuses on the results of the analysis of the questionnaire. A table has been drawn to present the reasons and factors that aff ect the instructors’ choice of teaching methods for the NCO courses. Another table shows the number of instructors employing each specific method in their teaching of diff erent subjects.
The study reveals that the training of NCOs is teacher-centered. This extends to conscript training as well, because if officer training does not facilitate the development of cognitive skills, independence, initiative, situational perception, analytical thinking, and enhance decision-making abilities and overall responsibility, then basic training certainly will not either.
Based on the findings, it is suggested that more student-centered teaching methods be used in NCO training. This will enable the development of cognitive skills of the leaders of small units. In addition, it will also make possible the development of the above-mentioned leadership skills such as independence, initiative, decision-making ability, etc. Furthermore, instructor courses should also develop an awareness of different teaching methods in order to aff ord instructors an ability to utilize the most suitable teaching methods for a specifi c training.
Further studies are recommended in the following areas:
– Informed choice of teaching methods,
– Teaching methods that promote leaders’ independence, analytical thinking, decision-making ability, responsibility, initiative and perception of a situation,
– Ways of applying the teaching methods to develop cognitive skills during conscript training,
– The suitability of the teaching methods for students.