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No. 75 – Teaching Radiation Safety for Understanding – 5

June 6, 2012

Declared and Hidden Goals

Goals for transferring knowledge are usually declared. For example, you may tell your workers that the class is to provide them with a clear understanding of radiation, its risks, means for protection, regulatory requirements, and requirements of your radiation safety program. While knowledge of these topics is important, will attainment of this knowledge automatically assure a successful radiation safety program? The answer is NO! A successful program is also a matter of motivation and demonstrated behavior for implementing program requirements.

Goals involving motivation and behavior are not usually declared, i.e. they are hidden. While we want students to obtain certain knowledge, the underlying hidden goals may be more important as an outcome of training. Most often the end result we are looking for, as someone with responsibility for radiation safety, is behavior that shows workers are practicing the principles of time, distance, and shielding for ALARA and for implementing program and regulatory requirements. We then inspect their performance for the desired behavior and take actions accordingly.

There may also be other hidden goals that affect training. For example, we want our workers to respect us and to accept the requirements of our safety program. We want credibility, goodwill, rapport, and cooperation. All of these goals or factors will affect motivation and the behavioral results.

Directional Goals

How do we motivate workers for the desired behavior? Do we motivate towards goodwill, cooperation, rewards, recognition, good feelings and success? Or, do we motivate away from penalties, pain, discomfort, fear, problems, stress, and bad feelings to achieve the desired behavior by threat of consequences? Do we implement our radiation safety program by the carrot or the stick? How do our hidden goals on such matters affect our training?

What is Successful Training?

Is training successful when students agree with us? Suppose they do not agree, is that OK? If not, there must be other goals. What is our real motive for training? We need to be honest with ourselves for effective training. If we do not decide on our real goals, the workers will decide by default. Perhaps we should declare our hidden goals.

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