|Chapter 3. Effective Communication
Some barriers to effective communication can be controlled by the instructor. Interference, or the prevention of a process or activity from being carried out properly, is composed of factors outside the control of the instructor These factors include physiological, environmental, and psychological interference. To communicate effectively, the instructor should consider the effects of these factors.
Physiological interference is any biological problem that may inhibit symbol reception, such as hearing loss, injury, or physical illness. These and other physiological factors can inhibit communication because the student is not comfortable. The instructor must adapt the presentation to allow the student to feel better about the situation and be more receptive to new ideas. Adaptation could be as simple as putting off a lesson until the student is over an illness. Another accommodation could be the use of a seat cushion to allow a student to sit properly in the airplane.
With the advent of advanced avionics, multitasking has become a form of physiological interference. The term multitask comes from a computer’s ability to simultaneously execute more than one program or task at a time. Although it now refers to humans performing multiple tasks simultaneously, humans are not computers. Research shows that although human comprehension can handle two simple, low-level cognitive tasks at once, a higher level cognitive task takes brain function and concentration to perform optimally. Adding even a simple activity diminishes the comprehension and recall of both. Research shows that multitasking is just a series of constant micro-interruptions and “stop-go” decisions, all of which tend to reduce mental and motor performance.
Environmental interference is caused by external physical conditions. One example of this is the noise level found in many light aircraft. Noise not only impairs the communication process, but also can result in long-term damage to hearing. One solution to this problem is the use of headphones and an intercom system. If an intercom system is not available, a good solution is the use of earplugs. It has been shown that in addition to protecting hearing, use of earplugs actually clarifies speaker output. Vibration is another possible example of environmental interference, applicable to rotary wing aircraft.
Psychological interference is a product of how the instructor and student feel at the time the communication process is occurring. If either instructor or student is not committed to the communication process, communication is impaired. Fear of the situation or mistrust between the instructor and student could severely inhibit the flow of information.
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