My Personal Teaching Experience in the Aviation Industry
2019-04-26 Jon ITTT Alumni Experiences
Prior to engaging in this online TESOL course, my only experience with regards to any teaching or instructing was acting in the capacity of a flight instructor/teacher. Having been employed at a school located in the United States, many of the students traveled from around the world to train at our academy because it was very safe and relatively inexpensive. With this, came some difficulty with regards to the language barriers between student and teacher as well as difficulties in certain translations. The students were required to pass an English proficiency test prior to commencing the training, however some students still had difficulty with the language rhythms and cadence as well as certain vocabulary words, particularly the aviation lingo. Because of the peculiarities of the English language, this sometimes made it difficult for them to learn this new information. Aviation has a whole other lingo that is spoken within the aviation community. Many acronyms and words in aviation would not be spoken nor heard prior to engaging in any flight training. This would require a further breakdown of the words and language being used in the lesson on the ground, before we were to get in the aircraft, as this could help to reduce some of the already existing stresses of learning to fly.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Alexander D.
Problems of poor English skills in aviation
Most of the time my teaching was one on one, but oftentimes we would be given a group of two or three students, typically from the same country or nationality, who spoke the same native language. When they would break off and study they would often revert back to their native tongue to speak between themselves. I would then have to encourage them to speak in English to familiarize themselves with the language as they would be using it for all radio calls and to speak with other pilots and control tower personnel. Speaking poor or broken English over the radio can often lead to confusion between the tower and pilot, and or pilots to other pilots. This can create a very unsafe environment for all in the area.
Applying the TESOL course methods to aviation classes
Having taken this online TESOL course, I can see how the techniques taught in the lessons provided during this course could be used not just in a classroom for the sole purpose of teaching English, but in other teaching environments such as flight instruction. Not so much for the grammatical side of things, but more for the classroom dynamics. Everything from the initial lesson, where the teacher should not jump right into lesson one of the course book, but rather take the time to establish a rapport with the students and set a good positive tone for their learning experience. And on top of that, being aware of cultural sensitivities with certain cultures as to not make any crass jokes or put a student on the spot. Understanding motivation is very important when it came flight students. Some of the younger students were sent to the school by their parents who directed them into this path. These types of students were often distracted and poorly motivated. Knowledge of this can ease some of the teachers frustrations and also challenge them to find other ways to interest the students. The older, self funded career type students were typically highly motivated and would make the extra efforts to learn the material.
In summarization, having my own personal teaching experiences in aviation and having taken this course, I understand now that it is very important that the teacher be aware all of the dynamics that can occur in a classroom, especially when there are multiple age groups and nationalities mixed into one large group. I feel that with the use of these learned techniques, I will be a better and more aware educator and provide the best education that I am capable of.
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