CFI develops best teaching practices for flight schools

“I remember trying to perform a DME arc approach, but I had never seen one before, nor had been told to read about it or prepare beforehand, and It was unbelievably frustrating,” recalled the multiengine instructor, longtime educator, and AOPA senior director of flight training education. “My instructor wrote down the basic requisites on a napkin—attitude instrument flying, holds, and approaches—then handed it to me and said, ‘OK that’s your syllabus.’ That was a vivid memory of how not to do it.”

As a result, one of Moser’s missions and a driving force for the AOPA You Can Fly program is coaching fellow flight instructors about how they can make learning easier, more fun, and more consistent for students. “I love teaching. That’s been the primary theme in my career and in my life … and I get to combine it with airplanes,” he said. “Trying to apply good teaching methods to flight training is my passion.”

Moser researched effective teaching methods for a master’s thesis and is anxious to share the findings with flight schools, college aviation programs, and fellow CFIs.

Commonsense approach

Moser’s study revealed that utilizing commonsense teaching methods led to the most consistent results. A systematic approach to lessons, homework, and practice naturally results in better comprehension because it keeps students on task and on track. However, Moser cautioned flight instructors to realize that certain individuals may need specific reinforcement rather than have them conform to a “one size fits all” approach. For example, some learners love lectures while others prefer practical or hands-on experience.

Provide a curriculum

Moser’s research began with a couple of suppositions about good teaching practices and how they can relate to flying. Using a good curriculum, which was made clear during his initial exposure to instrument training, was a key takeaway. Part 141 flight school operators are required to have a curriculum and to adhere to it. However, Moser noted that “some Part 61 flight schools have a curriculum, and some don’t.” Publishing a curriculum is one thing, “but it’s another thing to execute it properly,” he said.

Moser attended a Part 141 flight school for his private pilot instruction and was furnished a curriculum and a textbook. “I had homework to do, and I was diligent about reading and preparing for my lessons,” he recalled. The consistency led to a positive experience that stuck with Moser.

“Here’s the kicker. The

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