Safety Publications/Articles

The Rewards Of Ground School

When I first started flight instructing I was fortunate enough to also begin teaching ground school. Without a doubt, teaching in a classroom is one of the most rewarding and thought-provoking experiences I've ever had. If you haven't done it, I recommend trying it.

It only takes a few sessions in front of a class to realize that some of our best explanations are only mediocre at best. We know it because of the feedback offered by our students. If you use this feedback to improve your presentation, your improvement as an instructor will begin its dramatic climb.

Now, don't get me wrong. As CFIs, we seem to have little difficulty presenting any topic to a single student. It's as if our force of personality bends the student's learning curve to our will. We ask, "Do you understand?" The student says, "Yes," and that is that.

You can't get away with that in a classroom, where the anonymity of numbers inspires a few or more students to howl "Huh?" That's called feedback, and it's the single thing that can make you a top-drawer instructor.

If you have the inclination and desire to improve and expand your teaching skills, then think about teaching ground school. You'll learn that it often takes more than one way to explain something to be an effective teacher. You'll also learn to think and express yourself in clear and precise ways.

So, grab that chalk and eraser, gather a bunch of students, and let the games begin.

The students will love it, and you'll be a better instructor for it.

By Rod Machado

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