Wow! What an exciting year 2017 has been with so many changes both in the industry and at Tri-Coaching Partnership. Personally, as an ADI for over thirty years, I never thought I’d see the back of the reverse around the corner and the turn in the road; and I am sure that for many of you, it is a huge relief to not have the constant trouble to find suitable locations; or, to come up with acceptable explanations of how these manoeuvres develop skills for life; and, indeed, to have less pressure from students, whom you know don’t have the skills to drive safely for life but only want to practise particularly challenging manoeuvres in difficult areas for the test.
Replacing these rote-learned manoeuvres with the everyday tasks of choosing safe places to park on the right as well as the left; or deciding whether to reverse or drive into a bay, will develop pupils’ abilities around making choices and decisions linked to the higher levels of the Goals for Driver Education, such as, what mode of transport shall I use to make my journey, what route will I take, what strengths and weaknesses do I have, and what are my goals.
Freeing up the time for more independent driving, not only in the test but also on lessons, will, I am certain, have an impact on the safe driving skills of new drivers on the road, resulting in a reduction in crash rates. The announcement that the Part 2 test for trainee driving instructors will reflect the changes in the learner driving test was very welcome.
Not only did the end of 2017 herald the new learner driving test, but we also saw the introduction of the long-awaited new Part 3 test for the qualification process of becoming a driving instructor, where candidates will have to take a real pupil with them for their Part 3 and the format of the test will be the same as that of the Standards Check. Successful candidates will have demonstrated that they can think on their feet, developing a client-centred lesson plan and applying suitable teaching and learning strategies to ensure that learning takes place, whilst, simultaneously keeping the car safe by managing the risk. Trainers will need to be very client-centred if they are going to help the PDI harness these skills.
2018 will see the introduction of motorway driving lessons for learner drivers, which will broaden their skill-set. Motorway driving lessons will not be compulsory and may only be delivered by fully qualified driving instructors.
2018 will also see the welcome development of ORDIT (Official Register of Driving Instructor Trainers). ORDIT won’t become compulsory but will hopefully be something, to which all trainers will aspire to belong. At Tri-Coaching, we are very excited about the possibilities that sit within ORDIT, not least, that it will become a credible, sought-after ‘badge’. Linked with this, the DVSA have told us, they intend to move in 2018 on their commitment (as set out in the DVSA five-year plan) to accredit key courses and qualifications within the industry. This means, our BTEC Level 4 Professional Award in Coaching for Driver Development could be endorsed and recommended by the DVSA.
And what of other developments at Tri-Coaching? Well, we have seen huge interest in our Train the Trainer courses because of our TCIT (Tri-Coaching Instructor Training) course and the fact that we will dual-brand this to the Trainer’s own driving school free of charge. That we can offer a complete package to the Trainer to deliver to their PDI, enables them to focus on training and growing their business without having to spend time devising their own course. Our course equips the trainee driving instructor with the wherewithal to teach their learners safe driving for life. They will have experienced client-centred learning techniques that they can pass onto their learner drivers, plus they will understand all about the Goals for Driver Education and the DVSA National Standards. An online course complements the in-car sessions and means the trainee driving instructor is able to focus on theoretical, practical and instructional techniques right from the start, thus accelerating their learning and moving them away from the rote learning associated with the old, out of date pre-set test combinations that were so often confused with the syllabus.
2017 saw our team of licensed trainers grow in numbers, with many completing their ORDIT registration and others working with us in ADI training and development and Fleet, alongside our partnership with Driver Metrics. We continue to develop the features and benefits of becoming a trainer on licence with us to encourage more ADIs to do the same.
So, with exciting times to come, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support in 2017 and wish you all a very happy New Year in 2018.
"Here is the fourth in a series of articles by Susan McCormack on the subject of driving instructor training, first published in The Intelligent Instructor magazine.
I hope you enjoy it."
With the DVSA announcing that the Part 3 will be replaced with a Standards Check-style assessment, this series of articles continues to explore how we train people to be driving instructors and the knock-on effects of this training on teaching people to drive and, ultimately, on road safety.
The last article looked at what makes a great lesson and discovered it was no coincidence that the vital ingredients in a great lesson happened to be the very ones being assessed in the Standards Check and the new Part 3: Lesson Planning, Teaching and Learning Strategies, Risk Management.
This article follows on from the earlier ones in this series and considers what makes a great trainer. There are five essential communication skills: Rapport, Listening, Questioning, Feedback and Intuition. When you measure yourself against these skills, you will be able to self-develop and ensure you are delivering great lessons.
The relationship between the learner and the instructor – or the trainee driving instructor and the trainer – is fundamental to ensuring learning takes place and value for money is given. The relationship needs to be client-centred, equal and based on the understanding that learning comes from within. This is very different from the traditional hierarchy between learner and instructor (trainee and trainer) where the relationship was based on the belief that learning takes place through a transfer of knowledge from the expert to the person doing the learning.
To create this equal relationship, the trainer needs to use non-verbal communication skills, such as eye contact, nodding, smiling and matching body language. Above all, the trainer must have unconditional positive regard for the other person.
To maintain the rapport, the instructor must actively listen and work hard to remain on the agenda of the learner. Active listening involves:
· Repeating back
Try repeating the exact words the person has used. Sometimes, it is only necessarily to repeat the last two words and make them into a question, to encourage the person to keep speaking. For example:
Trainer: ‘What would you like to do today?’
Trainee: ‘I’m not sure.’
Trainer: ‘Not sure?’
Repeating the words the person has spoken but putting some interpretation on them will also encourage the person to continue speaking. For example:
Trainer: ‘What would you like to do today?’
Trainee: ‘I’ve been practising my commentary and trying to watch other people’s driving since I last saw you. I don’t know whether listening to my commentary or seeing if I have learned anything from watching people’s driving would be a good idea?’
Trainer: ‘Okay, so if I’ve understood you correctly, you would like to demonstrate your commentary and pupil observation skills so that we can discuss the progress you have made since practising this at home. Is that correct?’
Asking questions will enhance learning, providing they are focused on the individual’s development. Often, we ask questions as driving instructors to check knowledge, rather than asking questions that are focused on developing critical thinking skills in the individual. Here are some examples:
‘How have you been getting on since we last met?’
‘Are you able to fit in your studying and practising with your home and work life?’
‘Do you know how you learn best?’
‘What do you need to get out of today’s session to advance your understanding of what is involved in being a driving instructor?’
‘What do you need to get out of today to be able to continue practising at home?’
‘How can I support you?’
All of the above questions are far more effective than anything to do with knowledge and information.
The purpose of feedback is to develop self-evaluation skills in the trainee or learner. Understanding how you learn best, what strengths and weaknesses you have, and how your emotional state affects your ability to learn, are key skills. Scaling is a very effective form of feedback because it raises this sort of self-awareness. For example:
‘On a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is no good and 10 is very good, where would you put yourself for the progress you are making in learning to drive / becoming a driving instructor?’
‘What have you done well to give yourself that score?’
‘How do you need to develop?’
‘What support do you need from me?’
‘How will you feel when you have succeeded?’
Eliciting (drawing out) the feedback from the person learning is far more effective than giving your opinion on their progress or achievement. Sometimes, it is necessary to give your feedback because this helps the other person benchmark themselves and sets a standard – so long, as the standard you are using is not the test - practical L test or Part 3.
This essential communication skill is hugely underestimated in its relevance to client-centred learning. Only when we use our intuition can we recognise whether effective learning is taking place. If the trainee driving instructor suddenly appears disengaged from their learning, you are wasting your time and theirs. Often, this is about noticing a mismatch between their body language and what they are saying. Are they suffering from task overload and no longer able to process the huge amount of information that is being given to them? Change tactic and re-focus your training on their learning.
Remember, it makes no difference who you are teaching – whether a learner, fleet driver or trainee instructor – you need to deliver a great lesson around lesson planning, risk management and teaching and learning strategies; and to do this, you need to use five essential communication skills: Rapport, Listening, Questions, Feedback and Intuition.
My next article will look at the DVSA National Standards.