Human Behavior

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Certified Flight Instructor

CFI Ground School AVF 225

Human Behavior

Chapter 1

The Objective
The instructor shall understand why people behave the way they do, how people learn and be able to use this understanding to teach

Learning
Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or understanding of a subject or skill through education, experience, practice and study
Learning has occurred when a change in behavior has taken place
The instructor has to have an understanding of
Human behavior
Basic human needs
Defense mechanisms
How adults learn

Human Behavior
The definition of human behavior is complex
It is the product of factors that cause people to act in predictable ways
Predictability is especially important in flight instruction
1st solo, AKT’s, orals, checkrides, x-country, safety
It also encompasses peoples attempts to satisfy certain needs
It changes with age
An infant is very different than a teenager

Personality types
Myers-Briggs 1962
16 different personality types
Established that personality is orderly and consistent
Healer, counselor, mastermind, architect, protector, composer, inspector, craftsman, teacher, champion, commander, visionary, provider, performer, supervisor, and dynamo
Dr. David Keirsey condensed them into 4 groups
Guardian
Artisan
Rational
Idealist
Personality tests abound on the internet

Instructor/Student Relationship
In addition to personality types, there are also different styles of learning
They also influence how an instructor teaches
So a good instructor is going to figure out how best a student learns and try to match that with an appropriate instructional style
Some instructor/student combos just don’t work very well
The quicker the instructor figures out the student’s motivations and needs, the easier it gets

Human Needs and Motivation
Abraham Maslow came up with a hierarchy of needs
This helps explain peoples motivation
Each builds a foundation for the next
Once the needs of one level are met people work to satisfy the next
The levels of need are
Physiological
Safety and security
Love and belongingness
Self esteem
Self actualization

Human Nature and Motivation
McGregor’s X-Y theory
Deals with how people view work
Theory X
People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible.
People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives.
People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition.
People seek security above all else.
Theory Y
Work is as natural as play and rest.
People will exercise self-direction if they are committed to the objectives (they are NOT lazy).
Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement. ?? People learn to accept and seek responsibility.
Creativity, ingenuity, and imagination are widely distributed among the population.
People are capable of using these abilities to solve an organizational problem.
People have potential.

The Theories
Any way you slice it, as an instructor, the relationship with your students will dictate to a large degree how successfully you get the material across
Your knowledge of human behavior and needs is a tool for your toolbox
Defense Mechanisms
2 types
Biological
Physiological
The biological defense mechanism is best exampled by the flight or fight response
When faced with fear, adrenaline kicks in, heart rate and breathing increase
May occur when practicing emergencies
Counter this with increasing the student’s skill levels
Break it into bite sized chunks

Defense Mechanisms
There are 8 common defense mechanisms seen in flight students:
Repression
Denial
Compensation
Projection
Rationalization
Reaction Formation
Fantasy
Displacement
Sigmund Freud pioneered this in 1894
Ego defense for protection
Soften feelings of failure
Alleviate feelings of guilt
Help with coping with reality
Protect self image
All inhibit learning to varying degrees

Defense Mechanisms
Repression
Where a person places uncomfortable thoughts into inaccessible areas of the unconscious mind
Levels of repression can range from temporarily forgetting to amnesia
Repressed memories do not disappear and may surface in dreams or a “slip” of the tongue (Freudian slips)
If the student has a repressed fear of flying this would definitely inhibit the learning process

Defense Mechanisms
Denial
Refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening
It is a form of repression
Events may be minimized to make them seem not as bad as they really were
Compensation
Psychologically counterbalancing perceived weakness by emphasizing strength in other areas
Substituting success in one area of a flight for a fail in another area
I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover

Defense Mechanisms
Projection
When a person places their unacceptable impulses on someone else
When a student blames the instructor for shortcomings or mistakes
“I failed because I had a bad check pilot”
The student cannot accept they have a lack of skill or knowledge so they pick out certain aspects of the condition of the test and call it unfair
Rationalization
Subconscious technique for justifying actions that would otherwise be unacceptable
The student believes the excuses are plausible, real, and justifiable
“I didn’t have enough time to learn the material”
The student doesn’t admit to not joining the study group or doing practice tests

Defense Mechanisms
Reaction Formation
The person fakes a belief opposite to the true belief because it causes anxiety
In this case the person has an urge to act one way but instead acts the opposite
“who cares what my instructor thinks”
Fantasy
When a student engages in daydreams about how things should be
They use their imagination to escape reality
They live in a fictitious world of success and pleasure
They spend more time dreaming than actually taking the steps necessary to achieve the goal
In extreme cases they confuse reality with the dream world

Defense Mechanisms
Displacement
This is an unconscious shift of emotion, affect or desire from the original object to a less threatening substitute
It avoids the risk of dealing with unpleasant emotions and puts them other than where they belong
This is where the person goes home and kicks the dog
Look for the obvious signs
Out of the ordinary behavior, social withdrawal, not happy
Death in the family, relationship troubles
Try talking with your student, but keep it professional
If it looks like it’s a huge deep rooted issue refer them to professional help

Emotional Reactions
Anxiety
Feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something that is about to happen, usually with an uncertain outcome
Probably the most significant psychological factor
Flying can present threatening situations
Everything from checkrides to weather
Reactions include
Normal
Abnormal
Reactions can range from performance problems to a hesitancy to act to impulse reactions
Some students will flat out freeze up
Counter anxiety by reinforcing the fun in flying
Treat fear as normal
Don’t make a big deal out of it and don’t ignore it
Increase skill and break it down into bite sized chunks

Emotional Reactions
Stress
Normal reactions
Abnormal reactions
Normal reactions to stress include responding rapidly and appropriately to the situation
For example using the training to handle an engine failure
Being “In the zone”
Abnormal reactions to stress include random or illogical responses or they do way more than they should
Inappropriate reactions, such as extreme over-cooperation, painstaking self-control, inappropriate laughter or singing, and very rapid changes in emotions.
Marked changes in mood on different lessons, such as excellent morale followed by deep depression.
Severe anger directed toward the flight instructor, service personnel, and others

Seriously Abnormal Students
The AME is the first line of defense in this regard
You are the next
If you think you have someone with a serious problem, do not continue flight instruction
Arrange a flight with another instructor for eval
Do not give solo privileges, if they have solo privileges revoke them
Get the FAA involved

Old People
Adults who are motivated to seek out a learning experience do so primarily because they have a use for the knowledge or skill being sought. Learning is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Adults seek out learning experiences in order to cope with specific life-changing events—marriage, divorce, a new job. They are ready to learn when they assume new roles.
Adults are autonomous and self-directed; they need to be independent and exercise control.
Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge and draw upon this reservoir of experience for learning.
Adults are goal oriented.
Adults are relevancy oriented. Their time perspective changes from one of postponed knowledge application to immediate application.
Adults are practical, focusing on the aspects of a lesson most useful to them in their work.
As do all learners, adults need to be shown respect.
The need to increase or maintain a sense of self-esteem is a strong secondary motivator for adult learners.
Adults want to solve problems and apply new knowledge immediately.

Old People
Provide a training syllabus that is organized with clearly defined course objectives to show the student how the training helps him or her attain specific goals.
Help students integrate new ideas with what they already know to ensure they keep and use the new information.
It is important to clarify and articulate all student expectations early on.
Recognize the student’s need to control pace and start/stop time.
Take advantage of the adult preference to self-direct and self-design learning projects by giving the student frequent scenario based training (SBT) opportunities.
Remember that self-direction does not mean isolation. Studies of self-directed learning indicate self-directed projects involve other people as resources, guides, etc.
Use books, programmed instruction, and computers which are popular with adult learners.
Refrain from “spoon-feeding” the student.
Set a cooperative learning climate.
Create opportunities for mutual planning.

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