An exploration of recruit firefighter training and adult learning principles

Masters Thesis


Templeman, Jodie. 2021. An exploration of recruit firefighter training and adult learning principles. Masters Thesis Master of Professional Studies (Research). University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/q709y
Title

An exploration of recruit firefighter training and adult learning principles

TypeMasters Thesis
Authors
AuthorTempleman, Jodie
Supervisor
1. FirstA/Pr Henriette van Rensburg
2. SecondRay Hingst
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Professional Studies (Research)
Number of Pages107
Year2021
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/q709y
Abstract

Firefighters are required to respond to unpredictable situations that necessitate physicality and time-critical actions. Recruit training is the initial training that is designed to prepare civilians for the rigors of their profession as firefighters. Traditionally, recruit firefighter training has been delivered utilising a paramilitary instructional approach. This training approach, which at its extreme applications has shown negative effects on self-esteem, learning capacity and psychological growth, is incongruent with modern adult learning theories. While the role and skillset of firefighters have undergone significant transformation over recent decades, the training approach for recruit firefighters has remained largely unchanged. This study conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 recently graduated firefighters from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service. It examines whether the current recruit firefighter training program aligned with adult learning principles. It also explores the impact of the current training approach on the trainee and whether adult learning principles could be successfully applied to recruit firefighter training.

This study finds that while the training approach varied across recruit courses, instructors and individual experiences, the current recruit firefighter training program was heavily seated within a paramilitary instructional approach. The impact of this approach on the learner varied based on respondents’ perception of whether paramilitary training was necessary or unnecessary for the development of professional competence. Furthermore, it found that respondents believe adult learning principles could be successfully applied to recruit firefighter training, however, that it should be applied in a manner that maintains the rigour of training and is contextually appropriate to the role of firefighters. This study proposes a reformed recruit firefighter training program. It recommends a blended training approach that draws on the strengths of adult learning and paramilitary training in a complementary framework.

KeywordsFirefighter, firefighting, recruit training, training, adult learning, paramilitary
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390115. Work integrated learning (incl. internships)
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q709y/an-exploration-of-recruit-firefighter-training-and-adult-learning-principles

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