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Friday, January 07, 2005

Comments

Bill R

I have little classroom experience but a lot of experience as a flight instructor. My comments on the Professor’s ‘Steps in Designing Instruction’ may be relevant’

Steps in Designing Instruction

1. IDENTIFY THE MAIN KINDS OF KNOWLEDGE/SKILL IN A KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM.

In basic flying these might be.

Energy management
Use of the controls.
Aircraft limitations
Instrumentation
Standard Maneuvers – takeoff, turns, landing etc.
Navigation


2. ONCE THE KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM HAS BEEN ORGANIZED AS A SET OF STRANDS.. SELECT SPECFIC THINGS TO TEACH IN EACH STRAND.
Even in something as simple as an aircraft turn, the student has to master the controls and their interactions; compensate for the energy loss in the turn; understand how the instruments register the turn; and keep the turn from overstressing the airplane.

3. ARRANGE THE THINGS TO TEACH ALONG EACH STRAND IN A LOGICAL PROGRESSION
Right. Straight and level flight, airspeed control, turns, climbs and glides, takeoff, landing. Each step builds on the skills learned in earlier steps.

4. CREATE OBJECTIVES (IN THE FORM OF STATEMENTS OF WHAT STUDENTS WILL DO UNDER SPECIFIED CONDITIONS) FOR EVERY THING YOU WILL TEACH.
Absolutely. Control the airspeed within a few knots, turn to the correct heading, establish a rate of descent, land smoothly on a chosen spot on the runway. The objectives become more rigorous as training proceeds and skills develop.

5. CREATE SCRIPTS FOR INSTRUCTION ON EACH THING TO BE TAUGHT…. THE FOUR COMMUNICATION FORMATS ARE SIMPLE VARIATIONS OF THE GENERAL FORMAT, WHICH IS…

FRAME. TELL WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO TEACH.
Turns

MODEL. PRESENT THE INFORMATION.
“Watch me make a 90 degree turn to the left”

LEAD. STUDENTS DO IT WITH YOU.
"Let’s do it again. Follow me on the controls”

TEST. STUDENTS' TURN.
"Now you try it”

VERIFICATION.
"Good, now try one to the left."

AGAIN, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT SUBJECT YOU ARE TEACHING.
No, it doesn’t.

ONE DIFFERENCE MIGHT BE HOW MUCH INFORMATION YOU WORK ON AT ONCE.
In flying, the most challenging aspect is usually the landing pattern and the actual landing. The student must learn to apply all his skills in a rapidly changing 3D environment where, near to the ground, there is little room for error. The key is to make sure the student has the basic skills and to guide him in stages so he doesn’t become ‘overloaded’. On the 1st landing attempt the instructor will position the aircraft at the correct heading, airspeed, and altitude right near the landing spot. All the student does is land. As he progresses, he will take over more and more responsibility until, as he approaches solo, the instructor is sitting on his hands with his mouth shut.


6. CREATE LESSONS THAT CONSIST OF A SEQUENCE OF TASKS THAT DRAW ON THE DIFFERENT STRANDS.
When teaching turns, you start with simple turns and then more complex maneuvers that show how the different strands interact. A steeply banked turn will present challenges in energy management and possible overstresses. A high roll rate requires more careful coordination of stick and rudder. And so forth.

7. PLAN INSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT ON ALL PHASES OF MASTERY: ACQUISITION (IMMEDIATE AND DELAYED ACQUISITION TESTS), FLUENCY (RATE AND ACCURACY CHECKS), STRATEGIC INTEGRATION, GENERALIZATION (NEW EXAMPLES), RETENTION (OLD EXAMPLES), INDEPENDENCE.
A typical flight lesson is about one third review – the student tends to regress a little between lessons; one third new material; and one third integration and independence. “OK today you learned how to compensate for a crosswind at altitude, lets try the same techniques in the landing pattern”.


**************************************************

NOW, IS THAT SIMPLE, OR WHAT?!
Yes, it is. In my experience, 99% of flight instuctors use a close variant. This works very well. Most of my students were able to solo safely in 20 flights or so. I was a glider or sailplane instuctor – power instruction takes a little longer. Flight training is expensive and poor instruction can be fatal so the incentives to teach efficiently and well are very high. I am positive that there is not a flight school in the world that expects students to ‘discover’ how to fly. Many aspects of flying (and of everything for that matter) are counter-intuitive. A student pilot would certainly form many dangerous false beliefs and practices without a careful program of direct instruction.

IF KIDS WERE TAUGHT THAT WAY, CAN YOU SEE VERY MANY ENDING UP STUPID?
Almost all our flight students became acceptable pilots. There were exceptions - flying is not for everybody - but nothing like the wholesale failures we see in the schools. By the way, flight training is followed by a “high stakes test”. Speaking personally, I would not get in the back seat of an aircraft piloted by a person who was not trained as above and tested for competency by the FAA. A ‘portfolio assessment’ just would not do, I’m afraid.

plum

EXCELLENT, Bill R! No holistic flying in YOUR classes! Thanks so much for the contribush. May I post this on the Direct Instruction listserve?

Engineer-Poet

This is slightly OT, but as it appears to be of great relevance to the good Perfesser's general goals I thought a reference here would be in good taste: Panda's Thumb has a thread about biology teaching and mis-teaching (http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000716.html) which references "the Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators promulgated by the Professional Standards and Practices Commission and found at 22 Pa. Code section 235.1 et.seq." Three sections are very interesting:

[b]... the Code provides in section 235.2 (b): “This chapter makes explicit the values of the education profession. When individuals become educators in this Commonwealth, they make a moral commitment to uphold these values.”[/b]

(Doesn't seem to leave loopholes for teaching material known to be faulty, does it?)

[b]Section 235.10 (2) guides our relationships with students and provides that “The professional educator may not Knowingly and intentionally misrepresent subject matter or curriculum.”
....
Section 235.3 (b) makes it explicit that “Professional educators recognize their primary responsibility to the student and the development of the student’s potential. Central to that development is the professional educator’s valuing the pursuit of truth; devotion to excellence; acquisition of knowledge; and democratic principles.”[/b]

(Looks like a good hammer to beat anyone promoting "whole language" as a way to teach reading, which it objectively fails to do.)

And if that wasn't enough:

[b]Section 235.4 (b) (10) provides: “Professional educators shall exert reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions which interfere with learning or are harmful to the student’s health and safety.”[/b]

There you have it. Educators who believe in "whole language" reading, "child-centered learning" and other failed schemes would appear to have a professional obligation to remove themselves from Pennsylvania classrooms.

(More OT: The lack of *ANY FORMATTING CAPABILITIES* in this blog's comments make presentation a serious pain in the patootie.)

Mike McKeown

Formatting note, the link to the URL for Pandasthumb accidently includes the ')'. When clicked it does not load. Try this instead:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000716.html

The link is to a letter from Dover, PA teachers regarding 'Intelligent Design,' the untestable idea that components of living organisms are too complicated to explain by material causes, i.e. by evolution from simpler forms. The teachers rightly note the weaknesses of Intelligent Design and also note that they would be violating their responsibilities by teaching something that is so unsupported.

Tara

I just love reading this. Of course, I do feel remorse that my students I TA won't know this stuff, unless I tell them, and then subsequently lose my job for lack of adherence to boss/professor's philosophy. But perhaps someday I'll get off my butt and make my own site (not nifty like this...just something simple and reflective of my love of children, teaching, my dog, my marriage, and Austin, TX) and then I could include a section of fave links. Ya never know...

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