Chapter 4. The Teaching Process

Management Skills

Management skills generally include the ability to plan, organize, lead, and supervise. For the effective instructor, these skills are reflected in the ability to plan, organize, and carry out a lesson. A well-planned lesson means the instructor is also practicing time management skills and ensures the time allocated for the lesson is well used. As discussed in Chapter 1, Human Behavior, the average age of aviation students is 34 years old. Unlike younger students, no law requires they attend school, they are paying for the training, and they expect the instructor to make wise use of their time.

To manage time well, it is important that an instructor look at the time available and plan how to use the time to achieve the lesson goals. An effective instructor understands what can be realistically achieved within the allotted time, makes the best use of the time available, allows enough time for what must be done, preserves contingency time to handle the unexpected, and minimizes stress by not planning too much for the allotted time.

Management skills also come into play for the aviation instructor who is teaching a class of students. For this instructor, effective management of the classroom promotes learning. Consider the opening scenario in which Bob arrived early for the class and ensured the classroom was well lit, the desks in order, and that the room presented a neat overall appearance. He also made sure the computer and projector were in working order. These steps contribute to a positive learning environment.

Another management skill that enhances the effectiveness of aviation instructors is supervision of the students. For the flight instructor, this may entail overseeing the preflight procedures. For the maintenance instructor, this may mean monitoring the replacement of a carburetor. While it is important to provide hands-on tasks in the lesson plan to engage students in active learning, it is also important to ensure the tasks are completed safely and correctly.

Assessment Skills

In Chapter 2, The Learning Process, learning was defined as “a change in the behavior of the learner as a result of experience. The behavior can be physical and overt, or it can be intellectual or attitudinal.” This change is measurable and therefore can be assessed.

Assessment of learning is a complex process and it is important to be clear about the purposes of the assessment. There are several points at which assessments can be made: before training, during training, and after training. Learning assessment is another important skill of an effective instructor. [Figure 4-2] This topic is discussed in detail in Chapter 5, Assessment.

Instructor’s Code of Conduct

While many of the characteristics of effective instructors discussed in the previous paragraphs hold true for any instructor, the aviation instructor has the added responsibility of molding an aviation citizen—a pilot or maintenance technician the instructor feels confident will be an asset to the rest of the aviation community. The following code describes the concept of an aviation citizen.

An aviation instructor needs to remember he or she is teaching a pilot or technician who should:

  • Make safety the number one priority,
  • Develop and exercise good judgment in making decisions,
  • Recognize and manage risk effectively,
  • Be accountable for his or her actions,
  • Act with responsibility and courtesy,
  • Adhere to prudent operating practices and personal operating parameters, and
  • Adhere to applicable laws and regulations.
  • In addition, the Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) needs to remember he or she is teaching a pilot who should:
  • Seek proficiency in control of the aircraft,
  • Use flight deck technology in a safe and appropriate way,
  • Be confident in a wide variety of flight situations, and
  • Be respectful of the privilege of flight.

The teaching process organizes the material an instructor wishes to teach in such a way that the learner understands what is being taught. The teaching process consists of four steps: preparation, presentation, application, and assessment. Regardless of the teaching or training delivery method used, the teaching process remains the same. To be effective, an instructor utilizes people skills, subject matter expertise, management skills, and assessment skills.

This chapter explores the teaching process in general terms of how to prepare, present, apply, and assess lesson material. Teaching methods or training delivery methods are discussed, as well as the use of instructional aids.

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