A key to success: T3

Rob Kepple

TDCAA Executive Director in Austin

Not long after I started developing TDCAA training in 1991, I met Kay Chopard Cohen, who at the time was working for the National Highway Traffics Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a trainer. Kay had been the training coordinator for Iowa prosecutors and had a real fire in the belly for prosecutor and peace officer training. She brought to Texas a week-long course that launched Texas prosecutor training to a whole new level:  the Train The Trainer (T3) program.  That week-long course made believers of even the toughest DA office investigators who attended—believers in smelly markers, flip charts, stickie notes, and minimum 36-point font on any PowerPoint (all hallmarks of the course). The TDCAA Board instantly recognized how valuable this training was—training our trainers to be effective presenters.  We have plenty of subject matter experts, and we needed to help them become the best presenters they can be.
    Fast forward to March 6, when TDCAA, thanks to enduring funding from the Foundation, again hosted its annual T3 seminar for a group of 27 hand-picked, soon-to-be TDCAA presenters. Since 2010 more than 200 prosecutors, civil practitioners, key personnel, and investigators have gone through the course. Participants work hard: They hear about adult learning needs, planning a talk, writing learning objectives, organizing a presentation, creating visuals, dealing with problem students, and more.  And at the end, they all give a presentation showing off their new skills.  (My favorite continues to be a presentation on how to make a pizza.  The PowerPoint itself was gripping.)  
    TDCAA seminar attendees benefit from this Foundation project, but not a single attorney goes through the course who doesn’t appreciate the bump in trial skills he gets.  After all, adult learning principles are just as applicable in the courtroom as the classroom. So thank you, Foundation leadership, for supporting this vital work!