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A six-step teaching strategy

For years I've used a six-point method of teaching as an instructional guide during flight training. On every lesson, I mentally review these steps to ensure I'm teaching the student in the best possible way.

1. Identify the big picture. When introducing any topic, it's always best to start from a global perspective and work down to specifics. Too much detail with no framework leads to confusion and frustration.

2. Identify objectives in behavioral terms. You can't tell a student to be smooth on the controls without defining smooth in behavioral terms. Either show the student what smooth is, or define it in terms of how fast the controls are moved. "Alice, change the power evenly over about a 10-second period."

3. Simulate experience. If you can't put your student in actual icing conditions, then simulate it. Show how dangerous icing is by reducing the throttle 100 rpm (or one inch) per minute and see how the student handles the problem.

4. Identify the cues you use, and share them with the student. If you flare an airplane by looking to the side of the instrument panel, let your student do it, too.

5. Motivate by telling why. Students learn more efficiently when they understand the reason for something. If you want them to keep a hand on the throttle during takeoff, tell them to do so because it means they can make a more immediate throttle reduction and stop the airplane if an engine problem occurs.

6. Critique the performance, not the student. Avoid using the word "you" during the critique. Talk about the behavior and leave the personal out of the discussion.

By Rod Machado

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