Monday, July 14, 2014

Learning to Teach

I'm having some trouble adjusting to my new world of "flight training" now. I'm about a month in to training to be a CFI and, as one should guess by now, CFIs not only have to know how to fly. They have to know how to teach. In this phase of my CFI training I've developed a private pilot syllabus and am developing lesson plans according to my syllabus. For each of my lessons, I am "teaching" my CFI according to my lesson plan.

What I'm struggling with isn't necessarily the teaching, its the context switching between teaching and learning. Obviously, I don't, at this point (nor will I ever), know everything there is to know about teaching someone how to fly or how to operate safely as a private or commercial pilot in our National Airspace System. Also, I'm not an expert teacher/educator. So, with each of my lessons, my CFI has the opportunity to teach me. Sometimes its facts or a deeper level of understanding of the finer points of flying. Sometimes its interpretation of the FARs and sometimes its teaching techniques or concepts about the process of adult learning. All good stuff. All stuff I want to learn and am very interested in.

But I struggle. When I'm in teaching mode it is hard for me to switch over to learning mode when my CFI has something to teach me. I argue with him or get frustrated. Some days are worse than others. The bad days aren't very good for my confidence. Some days are good. I've already had days where I both learned and taught well. Those good days I remember I'm there to learn even more than I am to "teach". My last lesson was a bad day.

My CFI says this process will get easier.  I sure hope he's right. He usually is. This is something he specializes in, training very good CFIs ... that's why I'm having him teach me how to teach how to fly. I have to remind myself, I'm here to learn - to learn more about flying and about teaching.

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