Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Human Behavior and Effective Communication Lesson by wifiCFI


To determine the applicant exhibits instructional knowledge of human behavior and effective communication and how these impact effective learning by describing:

Definitions of human behavior

Human needs and motivation

Defense mechanisms

Student emotional reactions

Basic elements of communication

Barriers to effective communication

Developing communication skills

Definitions of Human Behavior The product of factors that cause people to act in predictable ways

The result of attempts to satisfy certain needs

Understanding human behavior leads to successful instruction

What are some different personality types and how can we tailor our teaching to them?

“Students whose learning styles are compatible with the teaching styles of an instructor tend to retain information longer, apply it more effectively, learn more, and have a more positive attitude toward the course in general.”

Human Needs and Motivation

Human needs are satisfied in order of importance. Below is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: First Layer of Pyramid – Physiological needs.

Second Layer of Pyramid – Safety and security.

Third Layer of Pyramid – Love and belonging.

Fourth Layer of Pyramid – Self-esteem.

Fifth Layer of Pyramid – Self-actualization.

Human Needs and Motivation

Theory X People:

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 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 People:

Work is as natural as play and rest.

People with exercise self-direction if they are committed to the objectives.

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 have potential.

Defense Mechanisms

Repression- the defense mechanism whereby a person places uncomfortable thoughts into inaccessible areas of the unconscious mind. Things a person is not able to cope with are pushed away to be dealt with at a later time.

Denial- refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. Denial can also take the form of minimization.

Compensation- the process of psychologically counterbalancing perceived weakness by emphasizing strength in other areas.

Projection- when an individual places his or her own unacceptable impulses onto someone else. Placing the blame for their failures on someone besides themselves.

Rationalization- a subconscious technique for justifying actions that otherwise would be unacceptable. 

Reaction formation- fakes a belief opposite to their true belief because the true belief causes anxiety.

Fantasy- occurs when a student daydreams about how things should be rather than dealing with how things are.

Displacement- an unconscious shift of emotion, affect, or desire from the original object to a more acceptable, less threatening substitute.

Student Emotional Reactions

Anxiety- a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, often about something that is going to happen, typically something with an uncertain outcome.  Normal reactions to stress- when a normal person is subjected to stress they will: Respond rapidly and exactly within the limits of their training

Think rationally

Act rapidly

Are extremely sensitive to all aspects of their surroundings

Abnormal reactions to stress- certain situations may cause a student to have an abnormal reaction to stress. This will include things such as: Random or illogical responses

Doing more than is called for by the situation

Extreme over cooperation

Painstaking self-control

Inappropriate laughter or singing

Rapid changes in emotion

Severe anger directed outward

Basic Elements of Communication

Communication takes place when one person is able to transmit feelings or ideas to another person or group of people. There are 3 elements to effective communication: The source (sender, speaker, writer, instructor)

Symbols (words, signs, pictures, videos)

Receiver (listener, reader, student)

How to be an Effective Source Use appropriate language and symbols. Know your audience and their experience levels.

Be confident Put a positive attitude behind the language and symbols you use. Be able to illustrate the importance of a particular subject.

Use accurate, up-to-date, and exciting materials

The vast majority of people learn best from pictures and videos or hands-on experience rather than textbook reading. Do not be monotonous. 

How to use Effective Symbols  Albert Einstein said…  “If you can’t explain something simply then you do not truly understand it,” and “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Teach students entire concepts and not partial ones

Explain why a particular subject is important

Use many different mediums to convey a single idea

Speaking, pictures, visual aids, hands-on experience How to Create a Better Environment for the Receivers Keep it simple.

Keep it exciting.

Use humor.

Be an approachable and likable teacher.

Tailor your teaching to your students personality type and to their learning style.

Barriers to Effective Communication (COIL) Confusion between the symbol and the symbolized object When a word is confused with what it is meant to represent. (ex. Stalls)

Overuse of abstractions Using abstract words that do not call forth mental images in the minds of the students. Using language that is too vague.


External interference such as noise or other distractions and internal interferences such as stress or hunger.

Lack of common experience Speak to the student at the level of the student.

Developing Communication Skills Role playing.

Listen to the students questions .

Asking good questions.

Never stop learning and progressing.

FAA Sources Used for this Lesson

Aviation Instructor’s Handbook

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