Student-Instructor Relationship

  1. The primary responsibility for establishing a favourable student-instructor relationship rests with you. The successful performance of your job requires that your relationship with students accomplishes three things. It must maintain discipline and respect for you the instructor - these are necessary for any leader. Students must obey your directions, especially in an aircraft. They must follow your example and strive to carry out your instructions and suggestions for improvement.
  2. The desire to help your student solve a problem is an important part in student-instructor relations. An obvious willingness to help students with problems will do more than anything else to hold respect, loyalty, and co-operation. This willingness is demonstrated, and often the students' problems are solved by counselling. It is a continual process and informal counselling takes place any time an attempt is made to help students with problems concerning training.
  3. You want your teaching to result in good pilots who are able to use the initiative, judgement and skill which you have nurtured in them throughout the course. If students are to respect rather than fear or resent your authority, you must be fair, firm and friendly. Do the following and you will be considered to have some of the qualities of a good instructor.
    1. Inspire your students to set goals which will stand them in good stead in aviation. Your exemplary conduct and high ideals will help in this goal.
    2. Be decisive. Weigh all the factors necessary to make decisions and then act with conviction.
    3. Be interested in your students and let them know by being familiar with their backgrounds, problems and achievements.
    4. Respect their rights and when correcting mistakes, do so in a straightforward manner, never using sarcasm as a correction method.
    5. Acknowledge your own mistakes. The admission that "You were right and I was wrong" does much to develop morale.
    6. If you do not know the answers to relevant questions, say so, find the answers and tell the students later.
    7. Be enthusiastic. Instructor enthusiasm is reflected in student learning.
    8. Encourage student initiative, self-reliance, ideas and suggestions. By doing so, you teach your students to reason for themselves instead of driving them to rigid conformity. However, stress that there are certain boundaries which they must not overstep.
    9. Be impartial and fair - never show favouritism.
    10. Never bluff - much of your subsequent instruction may be distrusted.
    11. Use humour. Appropriate humour creates goodwill and can be used to teach difficult subject material. But do not become so humorous that the business at hand becomes secondary.
    12. If you doubt a student's progress or motivation, arrange for an independent check. Perhaps some modification to your teaching approach may be needed. In extreme cases a change of instructors may be in order, if your school situation will allow.
    13. Be aware that the use of cockpit intercommunication demands suitable phrasing, speech level, clarity, and discipline.
    14. Teach your students to have mastery over the aircraft; to fly with verve and spirit to the limit of the aircraft's flight envelope; to know what they can and cannot do; but draw a very definite distinction between intelligent confidence and foolhardiness.
    15. Plan all solo lessons. Give your students thorough pre-flight and post-flight briefings, and make sure that they clearly understand the requirements and aims of the exercises. Thorough debriefings allow you to find out about difficulties which you may not hear about otherwise. To your student, failure to debrief may appear to imply a lack of importance to the exercise or a lack of interest on your part.
    16. Be present when your students are being debriefed after check rides or tests. You may find out points that you may have missed while flying with your student, and you will certainly get details in a verbal debriefing that will not be included in a written report.
    17. Maintain a professional image.