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Giving Direction and Responsibility

November 18, 20141 Comment

Video Transcript

As I have been focusing on post-test driving it got me thinking about giving directions to our pupils. We give directions and there is the independent drive part of the test too so they are tested on this to a certain extent. The other thing we do is we prompt our pupils; we prompt sequences. For example, we might ask them ‘what have we got coming up?’ ‘Oh there is a crossing there.’ ‘What are you going to do about this crossing?’ ‘We are going to turn right at the end of the road’ etc etc. Whatever it happens to be we are telling the pupil what to do. Whereas if we just change how we do this slightly we are giving the responsibility to them, which is in line with the Standards Check as well as being relevant to your teaching.
So you could tell them before driving off that for the next five minutes they have the responsibility of telling you things like when they see a roundabout, a pedestrian crossing or a junction etc. Whatever it happens to be you are giving the pupil the responsibility to look and take note. If we asked our pupils ‘what does that sign say’ we are prompting them and looking for them rather than asking them to tell you when they see a sign. If they don’t notice a sign then you can prompt them at that point because it is needed. Give your pupils the responsibility of looking for themselves as you are not going to be there after they have passed their tests.
How many times have we seen cars in the middle of a roundabout especially after lots of snow? This is not necessarily because the driver cannot negotiate a roundabout or stop, start and steer, it’s maybe because they didn’t see the roundabout coming up or they entered it too fast because they didn’t react to the sign early enough.
Things like laying discipline is a classic where people will see the sign and move lanes straight away rather than looking first and then changing lanes. Or we tell our pupils which lane they need to be in rather than them observing and working out for themselves when to change lanes and which lane to be in. Rather than us telling them we are giving them an opportunity to work it out, plan and observe. Obviously if they are not seeing them we can tell our pupils and then go back a level of instruction if necessary by talking through it and prompting.
I would always use this technique of giving my pupil responsibility after prompting and prior to them independently driving. By using this technique you can see where they are looking, what they are prioritising and help them if needs be.
Today on a lesson with a pupil that has had about 15 hours I told my pupil that he had to be responsible for spotting and pointing out all signs that may indicate that he would have to give way to someone else. These signs included give way signs, stop signs, cross roads, roundabouts, traffic lights – basically anywhere that he might have to give way to someone else. He had to tell me when he saw them coming up. I also told him that I would only tell him where we were going next once he told me that he had seen one of these signs. So the earlier he told me that he had seen, for example, a roundabout, the earlier he would know where he was going on the roundabout. This is a great incentive.
I also had the conversation with him that I was not going to be sitting in the passenger seat after he passed his test so he would have to really look for these signs. If he didn’t see the bend sign or junction sign he could really be in trouble. He knows what to do at a junction but if he doesn’t see the junction then he is going to have a problem.
Have a think about this, have a go at it and let me know how you get on.

Filed in: Blaines Blog
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About the Author ()

Blaine Walsh is the owner of, has been a driving instructor trainer for 15 years and a driving instructor for over 20 years. When he first qualified Blaine admits his was not a very good instructor, became disillusioned, was not retaining pupils and not making any money, so he quit full time teaching. After spending time self-reflecting, he had a light bulb moment and realised that he needed to put more explanation, effort and enthusiasm into teaching learners. Since then he has not looked back and is now regarded as one of the top trainers in the country.
  • Sophie

    This sounds fun, I’ll try it today! Thanks Blaine

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