Bob, an aviation maintenance instructor, arrives thirty minutes before a scheduled class to prepare for the lesson he plans to present that day. A quick visual scan tells him the classroom is well lit, the desks are in order, and the room presents a neat overall appearance. He places his lecture notes on the podium, checking to make sure they are all there and in the correct order. Then, he turns on the computer and projector to ensure the audio visual components are working correctly. A quick run of his visual presentation reassures him this portion of his lecture is ready. Next, he counts the handouts he plans to distribute to the class. By now, students are beginning to filter into the classroom. With his preparations made, Bob is free to greet the students, chat with them socially, or answer any questions they might have about the previous class.
Today’s class is Bob’s introductory lecture on aircraft weight and balance. Using a software program, he has created a slide show featuring examples of safety problems caused by out-of-balance aircraft. He uses these images to introduce the class to the importance of aircraft weight and balance in safe flying. Then, Bob teaches the class how to compute weight and balance for a generic aircraft. To reinforce the lecture, Bob divides the class into small groups and distributes the handouts which contain sample weight and balance problems. Working as a group, the students solve the first weight and balance problem. During this time, Bob and the students freely discuss how to figure weight and balance for that particular aircraft. Once the problem is solved, Bob reiterates the steps used to calculate weight and balance. Now Bob assigns another problem to the students to be solved independently in the class. After each student complete this assignment, Bob is confident they will be able to successfully complete the remaining three weight and balance problems as homework for the next class.
By using a combination of teaching methods (lecture, group learning, and discussion) and instructional aids (audio/visual and handouts), Bob achieves his instructional objective, which is for the students to learn how to compute weight and balance. In order to present the lesson on weight and balance, Bob has taken the theoretical information presented in previous chapters—concepts and principles pertinent to human behavior, how people learn, and effective communication—into the classroom. He has turned this knowledge into practical knowledge utilized in the teaching process. Drawing on previously discussed theoretical knowledge, this chapter discusses specific recommendations on how to use this information to teach aviation students.