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Designing Lessons
2010-03-18

Designing Lessons Giving flying lessons is much like building a tissue and balsa flying model of an airplane of your own design. The plane must be of your own design because the raw material of the student is going to require unique approaches and adaptation to situations and abilities.

At the present time, I am instructing a unique such flight program. I have a student who is the most well read and prepared I have ever taught. Yet my lessons seldom achieve the proficiency level I expect or seek. My student has an airsickness problem. It comes and goes and gets better the more frequency we fly. However, due to the flu season we have not flown frequently. Progress has been slow and erratic. At one point we did not fly for three weeks. The review flight ended in less than half an hour due to illness.

The student senses the lack of progress, as I do. I press because the student early on set time and economic limits for the lessons. I bypass those maneuvers that seem to cause illness but are so basic that weaknesses shine through. It is obvious that avoidance is not the answer. It is apparent that certain skills must be acquired to reasonable proficiency and absence of stress before they can be blended into the instructional program.

A previous student told me that his tendency toward illness was caused by an unexpressed fear of crashing. One the fear faded so did the sickness. It is difficult to surmise the problem of my present student. It is almost as though we must start over to reduce the stresses that once existed in previously learned material. The presence of independent skills in flying are very few I cannot right now even think of one. Prerequisite or subordinate skills dominate the learning to fly program. This particular student gets ill doing ground reference. The latest review flight consisted of little more than left and right level turns before illness struck. I have not
been able to organize lesson sequences that will hold together long enough for connection to another sequence.

Under a normal progression we would have gone through the four basics, slow flight and stalls, radio procedures, airport departures and arrivals, and proceeded into landing preliminaries of go-around and patterns. We have not been able to fly often enough or long enough the link the required skills together. The relevance of basic skills is so obvious as not to require explanation or demonstration.

Each of these areas has prerequisites that once met, must be maintained. Because of the superior preparation done by this student in utilizing study materials, I have tried to keep my student well. The result has been vacancies in his skills and procedures. The student has suffered because I failed to tie the required skills into sequences that would produce success. A lesson learned.
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