OET FINAL OBSERVATIONS by Instructor Trainers

This is not a course with quizzes, nor does it require a grade for passing.  Instead, this is a place where OET INSTRUCTOR TRAINERS (ITs) can reference the NSP requirements for taking an Instructor Trainee from the mentoring phase to becoming fully appointed as an OET Instructor.

National’s Education Department has created a formal procedure which is described in detail within NSP’s Policies & Procedures (P&P). This HELP page will explore the most important elements of the P&P, provide guidance for creating a suitable Final Observation, and explain the required reporting procedure used by the Eastern Division OET Supervisor.

OET is one of the largest Educational programs within NSP.  Eastern Division has over 800 OET Instructors certified to teach around the Division at various levels.  The options described here show how Mentors, IT’s, RA’s and the Suprvisor work together to create and appoint new Instructors.  Use this page as a reference for best practices.

ITs evaluate Trainees for the Supervisor and sign-off the final recommendation for a full Instructor Appointment.  ITs are tasked to do many other jobs around their Region and the Division; this HELP page only covers the process of “Final Observations” and the “Instructor Appointment” procedure.

The Mentoring Process

Although MENTORING is not the job of an IT, most spend a large portion of the season mentoring individuals around the Division, Region or at their local resort.  Mentoring can be done by any Instructor who is willing to work with an Instructor Trainee.  The process of Mentoring requires that a Trainee learn the OET Educational Content; develop the skill to teach and coach; and show proficiency at demonstrating and performing the skills at a level where essential elements appear frequently, at a satisfactory level.

OET Instructor Trainees are typically mentored by other Instructors who prepare them for certification.  The goals of mentoring are to teach Trainees an understanding of the skills for effectively teaching the OET curriculum using OET’s teaching methods.

Over the last twenty-five years, Eastern Division has developed a five-point “Teaching Methods Philosophy” used by OET Instructors for coaching Candidates and Patrollers.   During the Final Observation process, Trainees must show a working knowledge of all five methods that make up OET’s philosophy.

OET Teaching Methods Philosophy

      1. Lesson Progressions that chain together “Snippets” to facilitate incremental success as a pathway for mastering skills (Appendix D Effective Teaching Techniques — Focusing on One Element found in the NSP ID textbook).
      2. Snippet Sized Lessons with manageable objectives designed to simplify guided practice, leading to quicker student success (Chapter 2 Adult Learning Characteristics found in the NSP ID textbook).
      3. Six-Pack Lesson Planning with an emphasis on Concluding Objectives and Summarization (Chapter 5 Lesson Planning found in the NSP ID textbook).
      4. Ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation known as ADAPT for re-teaching skills and customizing faster student success (Chapter 8 Monitoring and Evaluation found in the NSP ID textbook).
      5. Individualized Positive Immediate Student Feedback known as “PIS” (without the “E”) which should be used throughout all learning activities (Chapter 3 Human Relations and Communication found in the NSP ID textbook).

Structuring on-snow courses that meet the OET philosophy is important.  Once Trainees make it to a Final Observation event, their teaching and coaching will be evaluated against their skillful use of all the OET Teaching Methods. Before setting up a Final Observation for a Trainee, make sure that both the Mentor and Trainee understand the OET teaching philosophy, to ensure that everyone is ready for an official “Final Observation.”

NSP’s Instructor Development educational discipline has developed many aids for Mentors to reference while guiding Trainees.  Make sure that Mentors have read and followed the guidelines in this ID publication available on the NSP.ORG website (click to download):

Guide to Mentoring New Instructors

Before Moving On:  Before scheduling a Final Observation, ensure that the Mentor and their Trainee have filled out the two required forms that ITs must collect, sign and submit to the Division Supervisor to make the appointment official:

NSP Instructor Mentoring Form

NSP Instructor Application Form

NSP's Instructor Trainer Policies & Procedures

NSP has developed Policies & Procedures which govern the official Instructor Appointment process.  ITs are granted the authority from the Division Supervisor to observe, evaluate, guide, and recommend Trainees for full instructor Appointment.  Signatures are required from the IT, the Regional OET Advisor, and the Division Supervisor.  Only the Division Supervisor can make the actual Instructor Appointment to the National Education Office.

Those who have been asked to perform the role of Instructor Trainer should understand the procedures and policies that govern the authority granted to them.  Click on the NSP P&P document below and review the following sections to become familiar with the duties and responsibilities of performing the IT job:

National Ski Patrol Policies & Procedures


4.3  Evaluation of Educational Events

4.4.3  Initial Certification

4.4.5  Formal Evaluation of Teaching Performance

4.8.3  Quality Management System

Appendix B  Quality Management System

However, the policies and procedures that govern the actual IT’s Instructor Appointment tasks and activities are described in the Guide to Mentoring New Instructors discussed in Section IV – “What are the Steps?” on page 22 titled “The IT Observation.”

Before Moving On:  The OET Instructor Trainers are typically made up of long-time NSP Trainer-Evaluators (TEs) who have shown the leadership and competencies to mentor and train OET TE’s and lead OET programs.  Leadership is often done at the Regional program level.  TE’s who gravitate toward preparing new Instructors and future TE’s are often noticed by Division Staff members.  These are the leaders who become recommended for IT positions.

The Eastern Division OET Program maintains a ratio of one IT to every eight Instructors distributed evenly across all Regions.  The OET Supervisor has a Steering Committee designee that manages the Division’s cohort of OET ITs.  The activities of the NSP Quality Management System is operated by the Division Supervisor and the Steering Committee IT Coordinator. Final IT Observations of new Instructor Trainees is just one small part of an IT’s duties.

Two Types of Final Observation Options

Eastern Division offers Instructor Trainers two different ways to conduct an IT Final Observation:  Formal and Informal.

The INFORMAL Observation is the most common and is written about in the Guide to Mentoring New Instructors.  It was developed by the OEC program to meet their style of teaching.  Essentially, an IT is invited to an existing course with students learning from an existing IOR,  In most cases, the Mentor who recommended the Trainee for observation arranges the course.  The Trainee is given two lessons during that day to teach under observation.  The IT provides feedback for both lessons in accordance with the OET teaching Philosophy.  The Trainee either meets the criteria known as “Readiness for Certification” or receives a plan for improvement to try again in the future.

The FORMAL OET Observation was born out of Patroller School events where multiple Trainees are gathered for half a day (or longer) to each teach two lessons, with IT feedback.  This method is commonly used by Regional Advisors who create one OET Final Observation day at the end of a season to process a large group of Trainees.  It works well for as little as two and as high as up to eight Trainees.

How to Manage an Informal FINAL OBSERVATION within a Course

How to Manage a Formal OET FINAL OBSERVATION Day — Patroller School Style

Before Moving On:  An important element of the “Final Observation” is that the Regional Advisor and Division Supervisor are required to assign an IT who was not involved in mentoring the Trainee.  This is an original tenant of the NSP Instructor Mentoring system and is specified twice in the Guide for Mentoring New Instructors.  If no dispassionate OET IT is available, the NSP P&P allows that the final observation can be conducted by an IT from a different NSP Educational Discipline.  In other words, the RA can assign an OEC, MTR, Avy, Nordic, or ID Instructor Trainer to sign-off and make the determination.  Instructor readiness primarily revolves around the Trainee’s effectiveness at teaching, not their skiing or toboggan handling performance.

Reporting a New Instructor Appointment

Uploading the Paperwork

Eastern Division utilizes an automated web-based interface for Instructor Trainer reporting.  It is located at the OET Help Desk found on the Patroller School website.  Help Desk provides information for reporting requirements.  Reading the page can be useful for understanding how the Division OET Staff collates and verifies certification and re-certification events:

Eastern Division OET Help Desk

NSP’s Educational Department only accepts Instructor Certifications and Re-Certifications from the Division Supervisor.  The submission to NSP occurs annually on April 1st.  Help Desk is operated on a cloud-hosted database that collects IT submissions throughout the year.  OET Staff members working for the Supervisor verify and audit submissions against educational course records. 

It is important to note that Instructor Appointments and Re-Certifications do not come from attending courses.  Opening NSP courses for credit provides Instructors and the hosting resort with event liability insurance.  Attending a course with credit is not tracked by NSP; instead, it is used by the Division OET Staff to verify that events were held.  The Appointments and Re-Certifications only happen when the IT assigned to judge the Instructors fills out a Help Desk submission form requesting the appointment. 

New Appointments require scanning the Trainee’s Mentoring form and Application.  It is recommended that the forms be signed then scanned using the IT’s smartphone camera.  ITs need to ensure that they collect all necessary paperwork in preparation for Help Desk submission, because the form requires an uploaded scanned document to be accepted.

Online Course Feedback Questionnaire

Thank you for your interest in learning about “Final Observations” and appointing new Instructors.  Please follow the link below to critique this online Help Desk page.  Eastern Division OET’s mission is to provide ITs with the best resources available, but we can’t do it without feedback:

Patroller School Course Improvement Questionnaire

Thank you for exploring ways to conduct FINAL IT OBSERVATIONS, and thank you for providing feedback.

Contact Program Supervisors

Click here to send messages directly to the Program Supervisors responsible for education delivery

Improvement Questionnaires

Click here to send anonymous feedback directly to Program Supervisors responsible for managing courses
Eastern Division is dedicated to bringing the best National Ski Patrol educational programs to members in the northeastern United States.  Patroller School was created to help program managers reach Ski Patrollers, and their affiliate members, locate and enroll in division sponsored events.  Our goal is to provide everyone with easy access to selecting and registering for courses.  We are interested in feedback from anyone who has attended any of our events.  Feedback is anonymous and goes directly to the Program Supervisor.  Please check out the following Improvement Questionnaires, fill out the survey and most importantly, take a little time to write us your thought.  Feedback from our users is valuable and gets action . . .