Safety Publications/Articles

The CFI and the car salesman

CFIs can take a clue from car salesmen when it comes to helping students learn. When I was looking at cars recently, the salesman came up and asked, ¿What do I have to do to sell you this car?¿

I said, ¿Well, you can begin by letting go of my leg.¿

It¿s true that car salesmen are often super-enthusiastic about their jobs, and frequently a tad clingy. This fellow, however, was just being clever. Instead of guessing at my decision-making strategy, he asked me to describe it. After all, no one knows more about my car-buying strategy than me, right? His question was an excellent one, and there¿s no reason you shouldn¿t use it on new students to identify their learning strategy.

The next time you take on a new student for any rating, ask him or her, ¿What do I have to do to help you learn most efficiently?¿ Then be quiet, relax, sit back, and listen. The moment you feel like saying something, just listen some more. Keep quiet and you¿re likely to discover all kinds of great information about how your student learns.

The person doing the learning is often the best person to offer advice on how to do the teaching. After all, if your student is 30 years old, then that¿s 30 years of experience learning. That¿s got to count for something.

As you listen, don¿t be surprised if you hear your student say things like, ¿I like to see two or three demonstrations before giving the task a try,¿ ¿I need a thorough explanation before I attempt any activity,¿ or ¿I like sufficient time to practice one task before moving onto another.¿

Give the question a try. Sometimes the question is the answer. But let me recommend that you avoid clinging to the student¿s leg when you ask it.

By Rod Machado

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