"Here is the second in a series of articles I have written 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 will 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.
In my last article, I explored the current situation with the Part 3 test and looked at what the Part 3 assesses; and whether it is fit for purpose.
This article follows on from the previous one by still focusing on the current situation with the Part 3 test; discussing who are the trainers; and asking why bother changing what we currently have.
Who are the trainers?
There are some excellent trainers in our industry, who have loads of experience in training people to be driving instructors and have kept themselves up to date, understanding the relevance to road safety of the Goals for Driver Education and the DVSA National Driver and Rider Training Standard. They either have a background in teaching and education; or they have developed their knowledge and skills in these areas; or they are naturally gifted communicators. Trainers, like this, know that a client-centred learning approach is vital when training people to be driving instructors, if only because this will then be the approach that is used with learner drivers and the knock-on effect will be newly qualified drivers, who know how to think for themselves, self-evaluate and take responsibility for their learning and the driving task. They understand that this is the best approach because they are aware of the relevant reports to our industry: MERIT and HERMES and, most recently, RUE *.
There are other trainers in our industry, who are nowhere near as well informed and believe the best approach is to train to the tests – whether this is Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 for PDIs, or the Theory Test and Practical Test for learner drivers.
Any old ADI can be a Trainer … It’s not the result of motivation, focus and positive goal-setting. It is often the result of running away from what they don’t like, such as their job as a driving instructor. Some ADIs become trainers, not because this is the career path they mapped from the outset and this is part of their dreams and ambitions; but rather, because driving instruction is not what they thought it was going to be, pupils don’t want to learn, they don’t get the pass rates, they don’t earn the money they thought they would, and they have to permanently kowtow to the DVSA. How can they expect to inspire and motivate their PDIs with this negative mindset?
We must change because Trainers teach to a test. They know inside out what is expected of their PDIs when they take the Part 3 but they do not fully get the point of the Part 3. They say,
‘It’s going to take me ages to teach you everything you need to know about the Part 3 test, how it is structured, what the Examiner needs to see, and what each subject entails, whether at Phase 1 or Phase 2. So, it might be six months away but let’s get started on it now with Cockpit Drill and Controls.’
The PDI has their mind blown with all this knowledge and information they are supposed to take on board. Where is the development of their lesson planning skills, their risk management skills and their teaching and learning strategies? It must be buried deep under the mound of information around the subject – information that they have already learned for their Part 1 and demonstrated on their Part 2.
We must change because only nine percent of those people, who receive their PRN from the DVSA, actually qualify as an ADI. This appalling figure means that 91% have their dreams smashed. Part of the reason why so few people achieve what they set out to achieve is down to the fact that Trainers train to a test. There is no client-centred learning going on here. PDIs aren’t encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. They don’t get to set the goals and determine the structure of their learning. Trainers are not delivering the Driver and Rider Training Standard (in effect, the syllabus) to their PDIs. They are confusing the PSTs for the Syllabus.
When people are not encouraged to take responsibility for their learning, there is no real learning taking place. This is as true for learner drivers as it is for trainee driving instructors, as it is for every single one of us.
The Standards Check, with its three broad competences of:
· Lesson Planning
· Risk Management
· Teaching and Learning Strategies
is drawn from the DVSA National Driver and Rider Training Standard and this will be the assessment for the new Part 3 test. If Trainers develop the seventeen competences in their PDIs, using whatever subjects they wish, newly qualified driving instructors will have more of a chance of producing safe, self-evaluating and responsible drivers from their pupils.
Having looked at the current situation by exploring what the Part 3 assesses; whether it is fit for purpose; who are the trainers; and why do we need to change, my next article will look at what makes a great driving lesson.
*MERIT (Minimum European Requirements for Driving Instructor Trainers)
*HERMES (High impact approach for Enhancing Road safety through More Effective communication Skills)
*RUE (Road Users Education)