Tuesday, 17 June 2014
A Change in Climate for Driver Training
I've got to say since I started studying the National Standard document and began putting it's ideas into practice I have really enjoyed how it's changing the way I deliver lessons. My pupils seem to respond well to the client centred approach and it's made for some very enjoyable sessions. Maybe it really does work. This week I'm into unit 6.3.1. Let's have a look at what it's all about.
Learners who are not actually engaged in the learning process and just sit there absorbing information are not equipped to drive safely after the test it seems. I can understand that. Get people thinking for themselves and you're on to a winner. The performance standards section tells us that we must establish an efffective method of communication, verbal or otherwise that is free from discrimination. This may mean avoiding words which could be taken the wrong way or be considered offensive. This can be a bit of a minefield in these times of everyone taking offense at the least little thing. Any good instructor should be able to talk to someone and be able to avoid areas which may become tricky. If you stick to talking about driving then not much can go wrong really. I'd say the main danger is when the instructor and learner enter into general conversation.
We must not exploit learners and collude in risky behaviour or attitudes. I've had a few young male drivers who have tended to brag about their illegal driving days and the things they got up to. I try to be diplomatic about this. Challenging attitudes about speed limits and driving under the influence of drink or drugs need to be handled with care so the atmosphere in the car does not become confrontational. If a learner decides that they don't like the way you talk to them they will just go elsewhere for their lessons. This is obviously bad for business. If you can bring them on side and make them think then they are more likely to accept good advice and refer you to other people.
The learner must understand the requirements of the learning programme. I take it this means the DVSA learning to drive syllabus. On the odd occasion I have recommended the Driving the Essential Skills book but the uptake on people reading this is very low indeed. Pupils tend to think that the instructor knows what to deliver and they just accept that this will happen. I like to make sure that the learner knows that we work in partnership as they learn to drive and this does help create a friendlier atmosphere. It works wonders with pupils who may have a problem with authority and generally being told what to do.
The learner needs to understand what other opportunities and resources are available for them to include in their learning process. This I think means guidance when practising with parents or using online materials outside their formal lessons. You Tube videos are becoming increasingly popular in this regard. When it comes to practising with parents there can be a sometimes be a problem with conflicting information. On occasion I have had a chat with parents who were simply teaching out of date methods. It's a long time since they took their test and they too can benefit as they help their children to drive.
I like to write my notes on the lesson at the end of the session in the car and include the learner in the process. This gives a level of transparency and grows trust with the pupil in my experience. This way I am explaining how I monitor and evaluate the training and gives me a chance to agree on the content of the next lesson, fulfilling item 8 in the column. All good stuff this. Next time I'll be looking at the knowledge requirements for this module.