FORT BENNING, Ga., (Aug. 14, 2013) -- For many Soldiers, becoming an Army instructor requires the development of confidence and critical thinking.

Staff from the Army Basic Instructor Course, or ABIC, said the course challenges and motivates leaders to take on new approaches to problem solving and self-awareness among a group of their peers.

Led by the Staff and Faculty Development Division, the 80-hour course is designed to qualify assigned Maneuver Center of Excellence military or civilian instructors for presenting instructional material across the MCoE courses. According to the Staff and Faculty Division website, ABIC is required for all MCoE instructors except Maneuver Captains Career Course.

"Our outcome is to provide an opportunity for new instructors to hone their skills and demonstrate competence, confidence and move forward to teach other students using all of the tools utilized here at the maneuver center," said Christine DiFeliciantonio, instructional systems specialist for the Staff and Faculty Division. "It's about being able to read their lesson plan and know the intent and purpose of that lesson plan."

According to the Staff and Faculty Division website, students use group discussions and homework to discuss Army Learning Model 2015 instructional methods, instructor and facilitator responsibilities, adult learning principles, sound communication skills and questioning techniques.

From public speaking and debates to the use of technology, ABIC staff said students enter the course as the first step in a process to become a qualified and certified instructor in their respective units or schools.

It's also a time when Soldiers begin to discover their strengths and weaknesses, said ABIC instructor Staff Sgt. Francis Peters.

"There are a lot of people who actually fear speaking in public," he said. "This challenges their development and challenges the group to break down walls so their discussions can happen very spontaneously. Every group is different, but we want it to be an environment where people aren't afraid to be exposed and support each other."

Richard Edgerly, chief of Staff and Faculty, said the course has shifted from an instructor-centric to a student-centric approach over the past several years.

Students will evaluate lesson plans and identify their instructor responsibilities within the Army Training and Education Development model. This model incorporates the TRADOC analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation development process.

"This course specifically takes them out of their comfort zone … we have students who are being evaluated by peers that are of higher or lower ranks, which isn't the norm for them," he said. "You watch that dynamic develop between them. We tell them not to think of anything as an attack against them, but the intent is to make them better at whatever they are doing."

Editor's note: This is first in a series following the training and careers of Army instructors across the Maneuver Center of Excellence.