Flying (Part I)

Picture by Karin ShawWhen a student learns how to fly, he  or she sits in the pilot’s seat from the very first lesson on. As the instructor, my job is to guide them to independence while minimizing the consequences of  their mistakes. Teaching another human being to navigate the great blue yonder,  is a great privilege and honor.  However, the skies are a foreign environment and a plethora of information needs to be absorbed and applied. The definition of learning is a change in behavior as a result of experience. There are four levels of learning:

Rote the most basic level of learning consists of memorizing facts.

Understanding– is the next level and indicates the student comprehends the information he or she committed to memory.

Application– the third level of learning is demonstrated when the student uses the information he has learned in a specific situation.

Correlation- is the highest level of learning and occurs when a student  takes a concept he or she has learned and applies it correctly to different situations.

Situational Awareness

The ability to correlate previous experiences to new and ever-changing situations assist a pilot in making good decisions in an appropriate amount of time. This process, known as situational awareness, is dependent on a myriad of factors.  The level of situational awareness a  student demonstrates, directly relates to the amount of independence I—the instructor—allow.

Picture by Karin ShawOn the first lesson the main objective is not to take-off and land, nor to talk on the radios or navigate to another airport. Instead the student negotiates a series of simple climbs, descents, and turns at a safe altitude and distance from the airport.  These tasks usually require all of a student’s attention and it is easy for them to fixate on the gauges inside the cockpit. The instructor will now demonstrate how to maneuver the airplane using outside references, and explain the importance of scanning the sky for other aircraft. The result is that the student’s awareness increases, and perhaps for the first time since liftoff he or she will take a moment to look outside.

On my student’s journey to independence there are multiple stages of situational awareness marked by iconic milestones. The first flight is soon followed by the first solo. Which is superseded by navigating multiple airports and airspace classifications in a single flight. Each phase of the training provides the students with deeper insight and a bigger picture of reality—as seen through the eyes of a pilot. Gradually the responsibility for their success and safety shifts away from the instructor, until at last they are ready to learn on their own as licensed pilots.

Picture by Karin Shaw

Seeing The Board

The journey from novice to accomplished chess player looks different for everyone, but the concepts of learning and situational awareness easily translate to the chess board. We memorize the pieces, understand their functions, follow the rules of the game, and slowly but surely our correlations help us navigate through unfamiliar positions. Our chess journey is not as quiet and reflective as one might think however. Rather we battle it out game after game, and our greatest moments of learning often occur amidst violent ambushes and defeats. We learn about en passant, traps, forks, pins, discovered checks, and eventually we face the two juggernauts: strategy and tactics.

by Flickr User: doug88888Energetically we dig into the openings, learn endgame scenarios and analyze middle game positions. Somewhere, we hear the term “imbalances” and enter a new realm of understanding consisting of pawn structures, development, good and bad bishops, material, and space advantage. Eventually some of us online players may actually delve back into the real world, and new variables of personality and character enter into our ever growing equation. Who is this opponent of mine…? What are his tendencies? And even more importantly, what are mine?

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2 Responses to Flying (Part I)

    Whey
  1. Whey

    Very extraordinary place.
    The message here is truly helpful.

    I will invite my friends.

    Cheers

  2. freem_ovies
  3. freem_ovies

    Very good concept, I like how you convey the msg.

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