What makes a good Bushcraft instructor?
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
Is it someone who can demonstrate everything which is involved in Bushcraft, every single task and activity, at an expert level? Nope! Why? Because I'll let you into a little secret... Nobody can do it all, NOBODY. Obviously any instructor should have mastered the basics and have a fundamentally sound knowledge and skillset, but to expect a person to be a master at everything is ridiculous.
Whether it's Bushcraft or sports, or musical instruments, or painting etc. Every instructor has a specialism, above their basic level of ability, and will never be able to master every single aspect of an activity. That's simply unrealistic.
OK, so what does make someone a good Bushcraft instructor then? Well it's really no different than what makes someone good at teaching, coaching or instructing anything else. It's the ability to actually lead and INSTRUCT others! It should be obvious, but it's so often overlooked. Yes, you have to be actually able to DO what you're teaching and have a high level of knowledge and understanding, but if you can't teach it to others then it won't matter if you're an expert at everything... you still won't make a capable instructor!
The basic ability to understand and apply the practicalities of teaching and learning is the most important consideration for any instructor, of any activity. They must be able to transfer knowledge in a way that is understood by the person/people in front of them, at a level which allows the task at hand to not only be achieved, but also incorporates enough challenge that progress is made by everyone. All of this must be done in a way that is safe for the participants and the instructor themselves, and doesn't damage the environment they're working in.
If you're considering becoming an instructor, not just of Bushcraft, of anything! And the organisation or person training you only concentrates on your hard skills, and doesn't cover; risk management, teaching & learning styles, task differentiation, activity progression, session planning, group management, site management etc. You might want to ask yourself "am I really learning how to instruct, or just learning a bunch of skills that I don't really know how to teach?"