Flight sims are renowned for their obtuse controls and inaccessibility, negative traits the forthcoming Dovetail Flight School attempts to assuage with a run of missions that aim to teach players the fundamentals of pretend flying around. Who better to properly assess the quality of this fictional flight school than those all-powerful adjudicators who sit at the back of primary school classes marking things on clipboards, Ofsted? I’ll be using their rigorous lesson observation criteria while I sit in on a series of lessons at Dovetail Flight School - School, geddit? - in an effort to determine whether or not Dovetail’s brand of digital education will fly in the British education system. Or something.
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Positive, purposeful atmosphere - Outstanding
Every lesson begins with a clear outline of the learning objectives and the instructor is always ready to provide constructive criticism, even in the midst of a nosedive. Smiles are worn by instructors at all times.
Key vocabulary displayed and used - Good
Trim, VOR’s, ailerons, ATC, P-factor, flaps and of course: forward stick pressure. These are words Dovetail Flight School’s instructors employ freely. If you’re unsure of their meaning then flying just isn’t for you and you should immediately go and do something else with your day.
Learning objectives - Good
Objectives are clearly labelled and can be reviewed at any point. Any student who fails to complete an objective must retake the lesson repeatedly until they are able to complete it: failures are not worthy of assessment or reflection.
Success celebrated - Good
Instructors are quick to offer praise to pupils upon completing a task, always offering a heartfelt “Congratulations: you passed the lesson”. Students even earn a special green badge for success in lessons - it’s got a star on it and everything.
Pupils make good progress - Inadequate
After several hours and numerous near-fatal errors, no pupil has managed to figure out how to trim their aircraft, or what trimming even is. Similarly, while all students were able to take off with ease, landing remains problematic for some.
Teacher works with a focus group - Outstanding
One-to-one learning is practiced at all times at Dovetail Flight School.
Independence encouraged - Inadequate
Straying from the instructor’s lesson plan, however creative, is not allowed at Dovetail Flight School. Students who attempt to take off without using the runway, perform unscheduled aerial acrobatics, ignore instructions from the control tower or seek out local landmarks like London's Canary Wharf will fail immediately.
Pupils carry out self assessment - Satisfactory
Self-assessment is the only means of progress at Dovetail Flight School. Students who cannot figure out where they went wrong should pursue other careers or hobbies.
After a mere day spent observing classes at Dovetail’s White Waltham Airfield we witnessed a staggering number of student/teacher fatalities; a factor not listed in our own criteria but something we feel we should point out to prospective students regardless. Students at Dovetail Flight School seemed positive and upbeat about their education, no doubt a result of the outstanding level of involvement pupils had at all stages of their learning. We would also like to congratulate Dovetail Flight School for maintaining impeccable levels of cleanliness throughout their entire fleet of light aircraft - not a single “I h8 skool” carving was found all day.
A special mention should also be made for the endless enthusiasm exhibited by Dovetail staff at all times.
Dovetail Flight School is landing - see what we did there? - on PC on May 24, 2016.