Effective Cycling Instructor Training

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Becoming certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor requires five steps:

Selection for Program

Prospective instructors of Effective Cycling must meet several qualifications

  1. They must be excellent cyclists in several areas of cycling. They must exhibit considerable experience in urban traffic cycling, both in daylight and in darkness, and in adverse weather conditions. They must be reasonably competent in bicycle maintenance. They should have participated frequently in enjoyable cycling activities such as club rides and touring. There is no requirement for outstanding performance in hard riding or in racing, but experience in these activities will count.
  2. They must be able to teach a subject that involves both intellectual growth and physical activity. Many people think that cycling has little intellectual content, but these same people often believe that good traffic cyclists must have superhuman powers. People who can competently drive a car, and therefore know how to handle a vehicle on the road and in traffic, believe that using this skill when cycling is both wrong and dangerous. Most people have been raised to be extremely afraid of same-direction motor traffic, and therefore believe that cycling must be done in ways that reduce that supposed danger. Given the conflict between these emotions and actual cycling, the cycling instructor has a greater responsibility for changing opinions and turning fear into confidence than he has for merely passing on information. Information that is given but not believed will not be used, while the student who believes that proper cycling is lawful, safe, and effective will learn by using that information. The good instructor can phrase controversial subjects in ways that will persuade the students to understand, and can demonstrate the physical skills involved in the activity that is being discussed.
  3. They must understand the position of cyclists and of cycling in American society, and the difficulties that this position causes for cyclists and for cycling programs. American society and government believe that cyclists are necessarily incompetent and that the roads are unduly dangerous, even for competent cyclists. American society and government have produced bicycling programs that are designed to clear the roadways of cyclists for the convenience of motorists. The public has praised and encouraged these anti-cyclist programs because the public believes that delaying motorists is a Deadly Sin, so that programs that prevent cyclists from delaying motorists must be the greatest bicycle safety programs that can be devised. This attitude both makes difficult the teaching of lawful, competent cycling, and produces highway designs, traffic laws, and societal pressures against lawful, competent cycling.
  4. They must be recommended by responsible persons well-known in the cycling community who are in positions to evaluate the degree to which the candidate meets the above criteria. The evaluations made by the persons asked by the prospective instructor will be solicited by the committee, received by them, and kept in confidence.

Once admitted to the Effective Cycling Instructors Program, the prospective instructor (Effective Cycling Instructor Trainee) will be assigned to a master instructor, if possible to one who lives where meeting with the ECIT will be as little inconvenient as possible.

Study of Subject

The ECIT who is accepted into the program will study both cycling, from the book Effective Cycling, and the teaching of cycling, from the book Effective Cycling Instructor's Manual. Effective Cycling teaches the skills of cycling and develops some of the attitudes essential to understanding cycling and its status in society. The ECIT will be expected to exhibit a complete and detailed knowledge of the contents of Effective Cycling and be able to demonstrate the skills implied by that knowledge. Effective Cycling Instructor's Manual teaches the technique of teaching cycling to students from age 8 years to adult, and to students with some handicaps. It also teaches the techniques for organizing Effective Cycling classes, for working with sponsoring organizations, and for preparing the equipment necessary for the mechanical part of the instruction. The ECIT will be expected to exhibit a complete and detailed knowledge of the contents of the Instructor's Manual.

The ECIT may ask his master instructor for assistance in learning or understanding any of the information in EC and ECIM, and in practicing any of the skills described in those books, and in any other way that will enhance the probability that he will do well in the written examination and the road test.

Effective Cycling Instructor's Manual

The Effective Cycling Instructor's Manual Sixth Edition is available in the Acrobat .pdf format for download and noncommercial instructional use. Effective Cycling Instructor's Manual

Written Examination

The written examination determines the degree to which the ECIT has learned the required knowledge from his cycling experience and his study of Effective Cycling and Effective Cycling Instructor's Manual. The written examination also determines the degree to which the ECIT can express the concepts of Effective Cycling, because much of it is in the form of questions that require an essay answer. The instructor with a superlative knowledge, but who cannot express that knowledge in a clear way, is outclassed by the instructor who knows a bit less, but can express his knowledge in a way that gets the student to understand that knowledge. The written examination can be taken in a location near to the ECIT's home, but it is taken under the supervision of a responsible person who will ensure that the examination rules are obeyed. The written examination will take the major part of a day.

Road Test

The road test is of the same type as instructors are required to give to their adult students, but the ECIT must exhibit substantially perfect performance. The road test includes cycling on all varieties of urban street, in various degrees of traffic, over a route that requires that almost all the maneuvers of urban traffic cycling. It may, if convenient, include some rural cycling as well. The road test will require up to one hour of such cycling. Several ECITs may be tested simultaneously. The road test must be given by a master instructor, and will therefore be held, as much as possible, in a location that will be least inconvenient for all concerned.

Supervised Teaching

The ECIT who has successfully passed the written examination and the road test is expected to assist an already certified instructor in teaching a course. That course does not have to be the longest EC course, but it must not be a short course for cyclists who already have their skills and just need to sharpen them up. Of course, with few instructors in many parts of the nation, this may prove to be impractical. In that case, with the approval of the EC Committee, the ECIT may teach a course and submit the final examination questions and answer sheets and final road test scores to the Committee for evaluation. Upon a satisfactory finding, the Committee may then award the Effective Cycling Instructor's Certificate to the ECIT.

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