|Chapter 3. Effective Communication
Instructors must know something about their students in order to communicate effectively. As discussed earlier, an instructor needs to determine the abilities of the students and understand the students to properly communicate. One way of becoming better acquainted with students is to be a good listener. Instructors can use a number of techniques to become better at listening. It is important to realize that in order to master the art of listening, an attitude of wanting to listen must be developed. [Figure 3-4]
Just as it is important for instructors to want to listen in order to be effective listeners, it is necessary for students to want to listen. Wanting to listen is just one of several techniques that allow a student to listen effectively. Instructors can improve the percentage of information transfer by teaching students how to listen. [Figure 3-5]
Listening is more than hearing. Most instructors are familiar with the concept that listening is ďhearing with comprehension.Ē When the student hears something being communicated, he or she may or may not comprehend what is being transmitted. On the other hand, when the student truly hears the communication, he or she then interprets the communication based on their knowledge to that point, processes the information to a level of understanding, and attempts to make a correlation of that communicated information to the task at hand. The increased level of motivation of typical flight and aviation maintenance students makes this process much easier.
Students also need to be reminded that emotions play a large part in determining how much information is retained. One emotional area to concentrate on is listening to understand rather than refute. For example, an instrument student pilot anticipating drastic changes in requested routing becomes anxious. With this frame of mind, it is very difficult for the student to listen to the routing instructions and then retain very much. In addition, instructors must ensure that students are aware of their emotions concerning certain subjects. If certain areas arouse emotion in a student, the student should be aware of this and take extra measures to listen carefully. For example, if a student who is terrified of the prospect of spins is listening to a lesson on spins, the emotions felt by the student might overwhelm the attempt to listen. If the student, aware of this possibility, made a conscious effort to put that fear aside, listening would probably be more successful.
Listening for main ideas is another listening technique. Primarily a technique for listening to a lecture or formal lesson presentation, it sometimes applies to hands-on situations as well. People who concentrate on remembering or recording facts might very well miss the message because they have not picked up on the big picture. A listener must always ask, what is the purpose of what I am listening to? By doing this, the listener can relate the words to the overall concept.
The instructor must ensure that the student is aware of the danger of daydreaming. Most people can listen much faster than even the fastest talker can speak. This leaves room for the mind to get off onto some other subject. The listener who is aware of this problem can concentrate on repeating, paraphrasing, or summarizing the speakerís words. Doing so uses the extra time to reinforce the speakerís words, allowing the student to retain more of the information.
Nobody can remember everything. Teaching a student to take notes allows the student to use an organized system to reconstruct what was said during the lesson. Every student has a slightly different system, but no attempt to record the lecture verbatim should be made.
In most cases, a shorthand or abbreviated system of the studentís choosing should be encouraged. Notetaking is merely a method of allowing the student to recreate the lecture so that it can be studied. The same notetaking skills can be used outside the classroom any time information needs to be retained. For example, copying an instrument clearance word for word is very difficult. By knowing the format of a typical clearance, student instrument pilots can develop their own system of abbreviations. This allows them to copy the clearance in a useful form for read back and for flying the clearance. By incorporating all or some of these techniques, students retain more information. Instructors can vastly improve their studentsí retention of information by making certain their students have the best possible listening skills.
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