Training at the Movies Part 1: What can Patrick Swayze teach us about manners?
BY ERIC HAHN
Roosevelt Training and Development Graduate assistant
As cases of alleged police brutality garner media attention and ignite protests around the country, it is no surprise that some municipalities have been reassessing how they train law enforcement workers.
However, a surprise did come via Larry Celona and Bruce Golding’s February 24 New York Post article about the NYPD using Patrick Swayze’s 1989 action movie “Road House” in a retraining initiative for 22,000 officers.
Celona and Golding write that trainers used a two-minute clip from the movie in a three-day training session mandated after Eric Garner died in a police chokehold. In the clip, Swayze’s character debriefs bar bouncers on how to handle rowdy customers. One of his “three simple rules” is “be nice.”
Although, a two-minute clip seems to be a small part of the reportedly $35 million project, “Road House” did seem to be an effective attention-getter in a session that included lectures “so boring that many cops have been falling asleep in their seats.”
Needless to say, using movie clips is a well-established instructional method. Just take a look at trainingwithmovies.com or even the Christian-focused wingclips.com. Yet like any instructional device, movie clips need to match the audience need and training objective.
An article in the journal Literature and the Arts in Medical Education states that well-chosen movie clips “provide a quick and direct teaching scenario in which specific scenes point out important issues.” In fact, the authors suggest using primarily American movies “since they tend to tell stories in a straightforward and uncomplicated manner” (Blasco, Moreto, Roncoletta, Levites, Janaudis, 2008). It seems NYPD made a good choice — you can’t get much more straightforward and uncomplicated than “Road House.”
What’s your favorite training flick?
Do you use movies for training? What are your favorite movie portrayals of training and development? Tell us about them in the comments and, if you can find one, add a link to a video.