I think that early training on the e-meter is a mistake. The beginner ends up auditing the meter instead of the preclear.

When Ron set up the 1965 lineup (described in various briefing course lectures on the class chart) he included the idea that real metering skills were not necessary until class 2 and therefore would not be taught until that point. This allowed beginning auditors to learn how to audit before they had to worry about the e-meter.

The class 0 auditor only did the first 10 e-meter drills so as to get a bit familiar with it and he was to audit with a meter in front of him so as to get used to it, but he was not expected to actually read the meter. It was only used for noting down the pc's tone arm position and to see a floating needle when it occurred.

This had the nice effect of causing the auditor to look at the preclear and listen to him and not fiddle with or stare at the meter. And gradually the student's peripheral perception of the meter improved while doing this.

People who audited a good bit of grade 0 and 1 on pcs before learning to look at the meter for reads tended to see reads easily and accurately without having to stare down at the meter once they began serious meter training at level 2.

All early meter training expected that the auditor looked at the pc rather than the meter and drilled him (e-meter drill 27) on being able to see it well while looking primarily at the pc.

Later (1970s), there was a bulletin saying to look at the meter to keep from missing reads. The result of this was auditors being required to look away from the pc and as a result the meter became much harder to read. It responds to how comfortable and in communication the preclear feels and most pcs do not feel comfortable staring at an auditors whose head is buried in his meter.

In modern tech, only class 10s and above are taught to read a meter without looking down at it. This was a class 2 skill in the old days, and its easier that way. But you need to audit first and learn metering second to develop this in an easy and comfortable manner instead of doing endless drilling.

Beginning with the class 8 course in 1968, the rudiments had to be taken to a floating needle instead of simply being clean. This created some difficulty since the auditors did not learn all the skills required to FN the rudiments ("flying the ruds") until class 3.

One solution was to have upper level students fly the ruds for the lower level ones. And there was a light version of flying the rudiments which was on a bulletin (long gone) about doing rudiments at lower levels.

Then the standard dianetic course came out in 1969 and was generally done before class zero training. That also required being able to read the meter to do a dianetic assessment. That produced a major block in the training lineup because strong meter skills were needed before the person could start auditing. It was terribly difficult to get beginners through this course. Eventually it was moved after class 4.

In 1970, the grades were expanded. Some of the processes put onto grade zero required meter assessment to find items for use in commands. The original grade zero processes had been done without checking for reading items but simply by auditor selection of topics to talk about. The additional processes were from more advanced training levels such as the briefing course and therefore assumed that the auditor already had strong metering skills. They should have been modified into simple class zero style processes, but of course this wasn't done.

As a result, more metering skill was needed at level zero.

Eventually there was a tendency to have the student do a full professional level meter reading course before beginning his training. That usually took longer than the entire level zero training because it was being done in the absence of any auditing experience.

The 1974 level zero checksheet only includes a light amount of meter training, but the 1987 one has the full set of meter drills along with tapes on reading the meter etc. In the modern training lineup, they pretty much repeat the entirety of meter training at each level, and they still don't usually get good metering skills until class 2. In general the 1987 checksheet is skimpier than the old one, but this area is the exception.

I would say that Ron was right the first time. Have the student audit the pc and not worry about the e-meter until he learns to audit. Let the thing sit there and be ignored until it is really needed for the assessments and so forth at levels 2 and above. That not only speeds up training but it makes auditors who are very good at observing the pc.