St. Louis, MO
Posted - 01/31/2011 : 7:48 PM
So let's analyze the actual renditions of braking in the various iterations. This is very long, and I apologize for that. I'll "brake" it into smaller entries to make it a little easier to read.
I have made a lovely little seven page table that gives the changes in how braking is conveyed from one iteration to the next. I'm sorry but the formatting of the blog won't allow me to put it in here. Looking at what has changed - and particularly what's been left out - from one iteration to the next is, well, scary.
First of all, I take this as my premise: the only way one can be *sure* that the student has received the correct information is through the student handbook.
Because, of course, there is no guarantee possible that every class receives that information in the classroom discussions or the range dues to changes in instructing the instructors and the very limited materials instructors are given for their own study. Also, under M$F's regulations, people can and do become instructors with minimal riding experience, there's no guarantee they even know many key and even critical elements about riding a motorcycle.
Many who were trained under the MRC or MRC: RSS know what was in those versions and may not realize that critical information is no longer provided to the student. Unless an instructor has deliberately compared one version with another, he or she may assume something is there when it isn't in actuality. For example, instructors may assume students are told to roll off the throttle before applying the brakes. They aren't. Neither in the handbook or on the range cards. Hopefully (and I assume they are) students learn this, but it would be a "what" that's added to the curriculum by instructors.
However, because of assuming something is covered when it's not, instructors can fall prey to the same thing just plain old riders do that's one of the reasons many riders refuse to teach someone to ride: they know the how-to so well, they are afraid they'll forget critical things. Instructors may be so used to teaching that they simply don't notice when steps in a procedure are no longer there. Even if they do notice, they may not reflect on why it's important that the step be taught.
If they do realize that it is insufficiently presented, instructors may correct the errors on their own, but how they do is hard to track and whether they do it adequately is another issue.
But, even worse, new instructors aren't necessarily trained to know what the RSS instructors did. They have no idea what used to be taught and may not realize what has to be taught. While the lead instructor should catch and correct some lacks, it's an inefficient way to do it and when the new instructor becomes a lead instructor, this make up process may break down further.
Even for highly informed and trained instructors, the possibility of forgetfulness or distraction or a misguided belief that a) the students already realize it or b) have understood what the instructor said is too high. I say this knowing that I, as an experienced college instructor teaching the same class for years occasionally realize I haven't covered something and have to add it in later. Of course, if I forget to teach how to include opposing views, my students won't die.
Nor, in the BRC classroom, can it be guaranteed that the students will ask the right questions to trigger the instructor's additionally known (if known) information.
Furthermore, changes in what range exercises are taught or how they are taught also impact what is or isn't in the handbook and how it is understood.
The students also don't have access to the range cards; they only hear what is read to them. They cannot, later, refer to it.
The same can be said for the videos and M$F heavy reliance on them. Critical information is presented but the students don't have access it to it later to remind themselves. Nor can they flip back to it to clarify or catch something they missed. While they can take notes while the video is being shown, it's very hard to take sufficient, accurate notes on visuals. Nor do the questions for the audio visual aid that covers braking address correct braking procedure.
I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that what is or isn't in the handbook, then, may have liability ramifications.