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What did you learn?

Nobel Prize-winning physicist and raconteur Richard Feynman was one of my favorite people. He was brilliant, and he had a wonderful way of helping those around him focus on important issues, whether in his classroom, through one of his books, or during the investigation into the 1986 crash of the space shuttle Challenger. One of the questions he apparently enjoyed asking was, "What did you learn?"

It's a good question. Asking it forces someone to examine just how much his behavior has changed as a result of a training experience. Behavior change is what learning is all about, isn't it?

If you can't answer the question after spending time in an educational setting, perhaps you didn't learn much - if anything.

That's why this is such a good question to ask your students at the end of every flight. The next time you're walking back to the FBO after a lesson, take a moment and ask, "What did you learn today?"

The answer will tell you several things, including whether what was learned was what you intended to teach! If the reply is, "I don't know" - or a vague response without much real content - either your student isn't fully participating in the learning process or you aren't teaching as efficiently as you should be. Either way, everybody learns.

So, what did you learn?

By Rod Machado

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