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    Re: Personal Experiences Learning CelNav?
    From: Greg R_
    Date: 2007 Sep 17, 20:48 -0700

    --- Lu Abel  wrote:
    
    > It's good for an instructor to remember what it was like "the first
    > time" for him or her.  But it's also important to assess the skills
    > and knowledge of his/her students and not just assume everyone is
    > like oneself.
    
    Agreed... and I actually have more years than I care to think about
    teaching aviation-related subjects, but I realize you probably wouldn't
    know that...  ;-)
    
    > It's interesting to teach navigation in currents.  The engineers
    > take one look and say "basic vector mathematics, let's move
    > on," while the non-techie's eyes glaze over.   It's a challenge to
    > keep the engineers engaged while making sure the non-techies get it.
    
    And as a fellow engineering-type, I concur.
    
    > There's no "universal" student.
    
    Yep - one of the first things you learn about "how to teach" is that
    everyone brings different life experiences with them, and you have to
    ascertain at least some of their background before you decide exactly
    how to proceed (i.e. what sort of background do they already have in
    the subject, what level do you teach in their particular case, etc.).
    
    I figured one question on the "orientation" sheet would be something
    like "What would you consider your mathematical background to be?" (and
    maybe with some semi-humorous choices as possible answers just to keep
    the tone light and informal).
    
    Also figured that when it came to actually explaining the navigational
    triangle (for those who might be interested and semi-comprehend it)
    that I'd mention that the non-math people can feel free to just tune it
    out and ignore that part of the class.
    
    > I've never had students have too much of a problem understanding
    > how to measure a course using the standard rectangular course
    > plotter (the kind where you set the edge along the desired course
    > and move a bullseye against a meridian or parallel and measure the
    > course direction).  Never had a problem until the last time, when
    > I had a couple of students that just didn't get this basic skill.
    
    To me that's a *lot* easier than the "walk the parallel rulers across
    the chart" method, but then again I also had the aviation background
    before I got serious about marine navigation (and the plotter method is
    exactly the same one that student pilots learn to lay off a course on a
    chart with).
    
    > But part of being a good instructor is to sense when students are
    > struggling (and likewise encourage them to tell you when they're
    > having difficulty).
    
    Yep - not to mention coming up with "creative" ways to
    explain/illustrate a concept.
    
    > In fact, I like the challenge of explaining things.
    
    Ditto that - and when you finally see the "light bulb" come on for
    someone else (especially if they've been "struggling" a bit beforehand)
    that's a really good reward just in itself.
    
    > I think celestial seems daunting just because of its arcane
    > terminology
    
    Agreed - and I think a lot of that might be related to navigators' "job
    security" concerns hundreds of years ago (obviously the concept of
    tech-speak jargon is nothing new to our own era...).
    
    > My challenge for the moment (which I think I've mastered) is
    > explaining the Coriolis force to a non-techie.
    
    And hopefully this was a weather-related discussion, and not the
    (potential?) effect of Coriolis on a sailboat with a blistering forward
    speed of ~6 KTS...  ;-)
    
    --
    GregR
    
    
    
    
    > Greg:
    >
    > It's good for an instructor to remember what it was like "the first
    > time" for him or her.  But it's also important to assess the skills
    > and
    > knowledge of his/her students and not just assume everyone is like
    > oneself.
    >
    > As I mentioned in my earlier post, I'm an engineer by education.   I
    > have lived in areas dominated by a high-tech environment (formerly
    > Boston, now Silicon Valley).  I frequently teach coastal navigation
    > classes.   It's interesting to teach navigation in currents.  The
    > engineers take one look and say "basic vector mathematics, let's move
    > on," while the non-techie's eyes glaze over.   It's a challenge to
    > keep
    > the engineers engaged while making sure the non-techies get it.
    >
    > There's no "universal" student.  I've been teaching basic coastal
    > navigation for over 20 years and I've never had students have too
    > much
    > of a problem understanding how to measure a course using the standard
    > rectangular course plotter (the kind where you set the edge along the
    > desired course and move a bullseye against a meridian or parallel and
    > measure the course direction).  Never had a problem until the last
    > time,
    > when I had a couple of students that just didn't get this basic
    > skill.
    > Took a lot of extra tutoring to help them understand.  Why were they
    > different?  Not sure (one even worked in high-tech as a technician).
    > But part of being a good instructor is to sense when students are
    > struggling (and likewise encourage them to tell you when they're
    > having
    > difficulty).
    >
    > In fact, I like the challenge of explaining things.  As I mentioned
    > in
    > my earlier post, I think celestial seems daunting just because of its
    > arcane terminology (like visiting your doctor and being told you have
    > a
    > "subcutaneous hemorrhage" instead of a black-and-blue mark).  My
    > challenge for the moment (which I think I've mastered) is explaining
    > the
    > Coriolis force to a non-techie.
    >
    > Lu Abel
    >
    > Greg R. wrote:
    > > --- Peter Fogg  wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > >>You make it sound like a destination you've arrived at, Greg,
    > rather
    > >>than an on-going expedition?
    > >
    > >
    > > Actually, that wasn't my intent... though I suppose one could argue
    > > that arriving at a point where one was reasonably comfortable with
    > the
    > > basic CelNav skills could be considered a "destination".
    > >
    > > Main reason for asking the question of the group is that I might be
    > in
    > > a position to teach a class on the subject down the road, and just
    > > wanted to find out if my own experience was anywhere near
    > "typical".
    > >
    > > --
    > > GregR
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >>On 9/18/07, Greg R.  wrote:
    > >>
    > >>> I'm curious to know what your own individual experiences were
    > >>
    > >>while
    > >>
    > >>>learning how to do CelNav - was it fairly easy to master,
    > >>
    > >>challenging (but
    > >>
    > >>>eventually it made sense and you caught on), difficult the entire
    > >>
    > >>way, or
    > >>
    > >>>what exactly?
    > >>>
    > >>>For myself, working my way through all the theory and practice the
    > >>
    > >>first
    > >>
    > >>>time I felt like my head was going to explode several times - but
    > >>
    > >>eventually
    > >>
    > >>>the little "Aha!" light bulb came on and it all magically fell
    > into
    > >>
    > >>place.
    > >>
    > >>>Was that experience pretty much typical of the rest of the people
    > >>
    > >>on the
    > >>
    > >>>list?
    > >>>
    > >>>--
    > >>>Thanks,
    > >>>GregR
    > >>>
    > >>>
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > >
    > >
    >
    >
    > >
    >
    
    
    
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