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Teaching To A Higher Level
2010-03-18

Teaching To A Higher Level

Because of the concentrated information that is being loaded on the student in the beginning, I use a tape recorder so that the material is available under less stressful conditions. This allows the student to listen and make notes about unanswered questions or concerns. With the instructional tapes as a guide the student can plan a head for the next lesson. the first thing I usually ask of a student is, "Are there any questions?" I average over thirty minutes of pre-lesson ground instruction before every flight. If a particular can be walked through, we walk it through.

I use the FAA Instructor's Handbook from page 85 as a lesson plan guide but I have many variations and supplements to the basic requirements simply because I feel that the FAA requires only a minimum and I don't teach to minimum skills. Prepare for the lesson by reference to the syllabus and ;I very much recommend that you call the instructor the night before a lesson to confirm that you have read the related reading material from the FAA texts or equivalent written in a more interesting style.

I have been known to be a difficult taskmaster in setting my performance criteria for students. I admit to some tendency to press students in their accuracy in flying a specific airspeed instead of accepting the POH variable range. I admit that I expect my students and pilots to be proficient in their radio work. We rehearse on the ground and in the air until it meet professional level. I admit that I expect taxiing skills be practiced and developed quickly. I admit that I take a bit longer in soloing my students. However, after my students solo they progress quickly and efficiently in their ability to fly solo between airports of all kinds and complexity. My students use trim for all changes of configuration; they fly hands off and use only two fingers on the yoke.

My students have been exposed to crosswinds up to 18 knots at 90°. They have flown SVFR and marginal VFR. They have landed on a farmers field. They have flown to a weather emergency field and made a surveillance approach using radar assistance. They have made their night landings at least five different airports. My students are proficient at pilotage. They know where they are! My students are, if anything overly proficient, in their ability to follow ATC instructions and to suggest other options. My students are respectful in their care and treatment of the aircraft, courteous in their relations with other pilots and aircraft. My students transition into larger and more complex aircraft with a minimum of time and difficulty because they have learned to fly and control the C-150 or C-172 as though it were a much larger and complex aircraft.

Teaching is purposeful speech that is supposed to impart from one, the teacher, to another, the student. The transmission of knowledge is only a part of the result. More importantly the purpose is the creation of desire to continue the process. Flying is the name of the game and inspiration is the driver. However dedicated and competent the teacher the desired result will not, cannot, and may never occur until the student is ready.Readiness is the prime receptor ingredient that must exist in the student before learning, recognition and retention can occur. Readiness can be created through inspirational teaching. Inspiration motivates, removes doubts and creates success where success should not exist.

The flight instructor must plan each lesson and the total sequence of lessons for a continuity of inspiration based upon successful steps of achievement. More often than not it is the outside influences that present the readiness problem. Finances, personal life, job security, job success, adverse weather, aircraft inspections, scheduling, or health all contributed to the ongoing delays, frustrations, and irritation that constantly interfere with the required readiness and inspiration. The student must be trained to expect that there is little to nothing to be gained by trying to do something about which nothing can be done. Getting older is one such. Have you ever driven for a distance over a very familiar road and suddenly realize that you have not been aware of what you did, what you saw, or of the passage of time. It happens to many people while driving and a very similar sequence can occur to pilots.
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