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4 Answers

How best to create a syllabus for CFI (and checkride)

Asked by: 5817 views , ,
Flight Instructor

You answered my previous question, it makes sense ("Should I create my own Lesson Plans or buy something already done"). I think I will do the hybrid and create my own but leveraged from 3 or 4 others and I will use a format of my choice. So my new question is "how to organize the lesson plans". I have seen a couple styles now, 1:organized to perfectly match the pts order, and 2:organized in typical order of when things are to be taught (like building block chronological order, lesson1, lesson2...).

That may be a silly question, but I want to start my creating with an order of things so I can live it, feel it, love it, know how and why I organized it this way.

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4 Answers

  1. Wesley Beard on Jan 09, 2011

    I would organize your material that matches the PTS.  The important thing to remember here is that these lesson plans are required to be within PTS standard.  Meaning the completion standards must come straight from the PTS.
    I don’t know of any student pilot that can master a maneuver on the very first try.  With that said, you’ll soon learn that you will need more lesson plans with a wider margin of error for the beginning student pilot.
    I’ve worked at both Part 61 and 141 schools and each place that I worked out had a syllabus that I was required to use.  The 141 schools syllabus was broken down into the learning block pattern and was customized.  The 61 school used the Jeppesen syllabus.  Each of the syllabus gave a wide margin of error at first and slowly tightened up to meet the PTS when the syllabus was complete.

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  2. Matthew Beyer on Jan 09, 2011

    Thanks guys for insight on both questions. I also got some other input and I think I am understanding more. Would this be a correct way of thinking: For me to take the CFI checkride, it is best to have self prepared Lesson plans, and I will probably be given a heads up from the examiner on what I should be prepared to teach. So for those, for sure have my own. Its also good to have several/many others created so I am very comfortable making them. But, its probably not expected for my CFI checkride to have EVERY lesson plan self made, in this case having a purchased version is good (as long as I know it inside and out). Is this appropriate thinking for my CFI Checkride?

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  3. Steve Pomroy on Jan 09, 2011

    Hi Matthew.
    I have two comments for you regarding your syllabus and lesson plan designs.
    First of all, the lesson plans should represent what you’re teaching, not what you’re testing (yes, there is a relationship there, but they’re not the same).  The same can be said about the overall syllabus.  The documents you use should help you teach the material, and should therefore be structured around the students’ learning process and any of your own personal teaching quirks — not the test structure.
    Second of all, the PTS is not comprehensive.  It isn’t possible to have a single test that tests everything, and it isn’t realistic to set the maximum standard on every exercise.  My point here is that government-mandated tests define for us a sampling of key exercises that must be conducted to some minimum standard.  The test is not every exercise conducted to THE standard.  This distinction becomes especially important for higher licenses and ratings, but is still applicable at the PPL level.  Nobody who wants to call themselves a Professional Flight Instructor should be teaching to the test.
    Don’t get me wrong, using the PTS as a reference point is useful, and even necessary.  But teaching our students to pass the test is not the objective of flight training.  Passing the test is just a milestone, not an overarching goal.  Further, as Wesley noted, students start off on a new exercise at a fairly low level of skill and proficiency.  Their performance level will improve with practice and feedback.  So pushing to meet test standards from the outset can be counterproductive — as can limiting ourselves to test standards after an exercise is mastered.
    Ok.  Now that I’ve re-read your question, I’m not clear on whether your talking about the PTS for the instructor checkride or the PTS for the licenses/ratings you’ll be teaching.  So I guess it’s possible I haven’t answered your question at all.  Having said that, I’ll leave my answer as it is and let others talk about the applicable CFI PTS.  Although I’ve reviewed the Americal PTS documents a little bit, I’m no expert, as our documents are set up a little differently here in the Great White North.
    In any case, I hope this is helpful for you.

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  4. Curtis Ide on Jan 10, 2011

    I agree with Steve’s view on teaching and wanted to add some further input.  The lessons plans you make/purchase/etc.  need to be something that is practical for you to use.  When I created mine, I made lessons plans for each ground subject and each manuever listed in the PTS in order to cover the essential material.  I think it is an important process to make your own because the research that you will do gives you that edge of confidence going into you CFI checkride.  With that said I have two particular ideas for lesson plans. 
    The first is to build your lesson plan and then have an additional note page for all of your research.  More specifically, as you build a lesson plan for “Medium Bank Turns” have your basic lesson plan as illustated in the Instructors Handbook that covers materials you will need, references your will use, how long it should take, etc.  Then have another page for yourself i.e. “CFI NOTES” that describes particular information you may find during your research..  The “CFI NOTES” should be written in plain text english that you can look back on to refresh yourself before teaching i.e. “When rolling into a turn you increase the angle of attack of the outside wing thus increasing induced drag.  Therefore, anytime you add aileron control to turn you will need rudder pressure to counter the additional drag also known as adverse yaw.”  You will find those notes very helpful when you start teaching and need to refresh yourself.  It also really helps you to get concepts into your own words which will enhance your teaching ability.  One of the hardest parts of teaching initially is formulating the right series of words so that the student understands what the heck you are saying.
    The second is to realize that your initial lesson plans will need to be adjusted constantly as you gain experience.  Initially you may only build your plans to cover the PTS subject areas but the whole idea is to make something that you can work from and to make sure that you can add to them as you go along.  This will allow you to go above and beyond the basic information that is given in a commercially available syllabus.
    In any case when you walk in to see the examiner you will feel much more comfortable if you have gone through all the information yourself.
    I would also be happy to help you edit up your lesson plans as you finish them if you need a second eye. (Hopefully your CFI instructor is available for this too)
    J. Curtis 

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