CFI Instrument Practical Test Standards, FAA-S-8081-9B, June 2001

I. Fundamentals of Instructing

D. Teaching Methods

  1. Organizing material
      a. Introduction
        1) Attention - focus attention on the lesson
        2) Motivation - offer specific reasons why lesson content is important
        3) Overview - clear, concise presentation of objectives and key ideas
      b. Development
        1) Past to present - most suitable when history is an important consideration
        2) Simple to complex
        3) Known to unknown
        4) Most frequently used to least frequently used
        5) Meaningful transitions from one main point to another keep students oriented
      c. Conclusion
        1) Retrace important elements of the lesson and relate them to the objective
        2) Review and wrap-up reinforces student learning and imporves retention
  2. Lecture method
      a. Uses
        1) Introduction of new subjects
        2) Summarizing ideas
        3) Showing relationships between theory and practice
        4) Reemphasizing main points
        5) May be combined with other teaching methods to give added meaning and direction
      b. Types
        1) Illustrated talk - speaker relies heavily on visual aids
        2) Briefing - concise array of facts
        3) Formal lecture - to inform, persuade or entertain with little or no student participation
        4) Teaching lecture - allows some participation by students
      c. Teaching lecture
        1) Most effective instructor lecturer
          a) Communicates effectively
          b) Interprets the meaning of subtle responses from the class and adjusts the lesson accordingly
        2) Preparing the teaching lecture
          a) Establish the objective and desired outcomes
          b) Research the subject
          c) Organize the material - prepare to support points with meaningful examples, comparisons, statistics or testimony
          d) Plan productive classroom activities
          e) Rehearse
        3) Suitable language
          a) Simple rather than complex words
          b) Specific rather than general
          c) Vary tone and pace of speaking
        4) Types of delivery
          a) Reading from a typed or written manuscript
          b) Reciting memorized material
          c) Speaking extemporaneously from an outline
            i) Best delivery type for teaching lecture
            ii) Adjustments can be made based on reactions of students
          d) Speaking impromptu without preparation
        5) Use of notes
          a) Ensure accuracy
          b) Jog the memory
          c) Essential for reporting complicated information
          d) Keep the lecture on track
          e) Use sparingly and unobtrusively
      d. Informal lecture encouraged over formal lecture
        1) Informal lecture includes active student participation
        2) Learning is best achieved if students participate actively in a friendly, relaxed atmoshpere
        3) Instructor can achieve student participation through the use of questions
      e. Advantages and disadvantages of the lecture
        1) Advantages
          a) Convenient way to instruct large groups
          b) Can be used to present information difficult for the students to get in other ways
          c) Can usefully supplement other teaching devices and methods
          d) Most economical in terms of time required to present a given amount of material
          e) Especially suitable for introducing a new subject and for explaining the necessary background information
        2) Disadvantages
          a) Tends to foster passiveness and teacher-dependence on the part of the students
          b) Motor skills can seldom be learned by listening to a lecture
          c) Retention rate for lecture is about 5% after about 24 hours
  3. Cooperative or group learning method
      a. Organize students into small groups to work together to maximize their own and each other's learning
      b. Students completing cooperative learning group tasks tend to have higher test scores, higher self-esteem, imporved social skills and greater comprehension of the subject
      c. Requires coninuous, active student participation
      d. Instructor must describe very clearly the specific knowledge and/or abilities the students are to acquire and then demonstrate on their own
      e. Conditions and controls - important for success
        1) Heterogeneous groups - intructor should organize students into small groups of 3 to 6 members that are mixed heterogeneously considering academic abilities, ethnic background, race and gender
        2) Clear, concise directions and instructions that spell out exactly what students are to do, in what order, with what materials and how learning will be demonstrated
        3) All students in the group must buy into the targeted objectives
        4) Positive interdependence - students must depend on one another for their group's success
        5) Opportunity for success
        6) Access to must-learn information
        7) Sufficient time for learning - several weeks best
        8) Positive social interaction behavior and attitudes - leadership, trust-building, conflict management, constructive criticism, encouragement, compromise, negotiation and clarification
        9) Individual accountability
        10) Recognition and rewards for group success
        11) Debrief on group effort
      f. Alternatives to a pure form of group learning are collaborative, student-led, instructor-led or working group strategies
  4. Guided discussion method
      a. Fundamentally, almost the opposite of the lecture method - instructor relies on student input
      b. Learning is achieved through skillful use of questions
        1) Lead-off question
        2) Follow-up questions
        3) Overhead question
        4) Rhetorical question (more commonly used in lecturing)
        5) Direct question - to a specific student
        6) Reverse question - in response to a student question
        7) Relay question - redirected to group
      c. Characteristics of effective questions
        1) Specific purpose
        2) Clear in meaning
        3) Contain a single idea
        4) Stimulate thought
        5) Require definite answers
        6) Relate to previously covered information
      d. Planning a guided discussion
        1) Select a topic that student's can profitably discuss
        2) Establish a specific lesson objective with desired learning outcomes
        3) Research adequately
        4) Organize main and subordinate points in a logical sequence
        5) Plan at least one lead-off question for each desired learning objective
      e. Student preparation for a guided discussion
        1) Students should have some background in the subject
        2) Each student should accept responsibility for contributing to and benefitting from the discussion
      f. Guiding a discussion - instructor technic
        1) Introduction
          a) Same elements as for a lecture (attention, motivation, overview)
          b) Create relaxed, informal atmosphere in which students feel their participation is wanted and needed
        2) Discussion
          a) Open with lead-off question
          b) Guide with how and why follow-up questions
          c) Make interim summaries after discussion of each learning objective
        3) Conclusion
  5. Demonstration-performance method
      a. Explanation phase - clearly convey precise action student is to perform
      b. Demonstration (by instructor) phase
        1) Point out and account for any deviations
        2) Acknowledge and correct errors
      c. Student performance and instructor supervision phases
      d. Evaluation phase
  6. Computer-based training (CBT) method
      a. Each student can progress at his/her most comfortable rate
      b. Personal computer based aviation training devices (PCATDs) or flight training devices (FTDs)
      c. Preparation for FAA knowledge tests
      d. Computer assisted instruction

Reference: Aviation Instructor's Handbook, FAA-H-8083-9, 1999

Greg Gordon MD, CFII