Instructor Fit

This commentary was provided to me by an instructor and airline pilot with decades of civilian and military experience:

A student has to learn to adapt to the instructor somewhat. More importantly, a good instructor learns how the student learns (and expresses him or herself) and changes their teaching style to match the student's learning style. A good instructor learns how -- and in what terms -- the student thinks, and makes the appropriate changes in instruction style to match the mode of thinking of the student.

In music, you call this "transposing." There isn't nearly enough emphasis on this in flying.

Some students store information verbally. Others, in pictures. Still others, kinesthetically. You don't get effective student recall by suggesting "Remember how an uncoordinated turn feels?" when dealing with a verbal student.

Likewise, some students learn in a very left-brained (linear) fashion: they master things step by step. Others have to see the big picture (integrating) before they understand the importance of a given maneuver.

Without one, they'll never master the other. A good instructor listens and observes how the student expresses their ideas. There are also ways that you can note how the individual stores information (by hearing, watching or doing) by observing which way their eyes move when you ask them to recall some maneuver!

So, the burden of changing instruction style rests on the instructor to match the way the student most effectively learns, not vice-versa. Find an instructor who does this consistently and you'll find someone who is booked months in advance, and has a very high student initial pass rate.

Other instructors never make the connection: they teach the way they learned, never varying their style or methods. Based upon three methods of information storage (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) and the two modes of learning (linear and integral), chances are that an instructor who never understands these methods/modes to change their style of instruction is going to be effective with only 33% of the student pilots they fly with, and then, only 50% of the time. I.E., they have an effective success rate of about 16.5%.


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Judy & JJ
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