In this video here, you will hear how the owner of BIG TOM interacts with pupils at the stage of learning between levels 4 & 5. These are pupils who know how to operate the car but they might make the occasional significant error when they come across something that they are unfamiliar with. As driving instructors we all know what these situations look and feel like when they crop up in driving training. We are referring to technically more challenging situations that require cognitive skills such as anticipation, planning, risk assessment, hazard perception, effective interaction with other road users and defensive driving. The fact is that rarely do these situations arise: perhaps 4 times in a 30 minute drive, possibly less. But they do crop up. So as a driving instructor, you have a choice to make. Do you just “coach” a pupil to learn where these pinch-points are, and with enough goes, the pupil gets to eventually know by rote what to do? Or do you instead attempt to develop the cognitive skills by helping your pupil practice these situations in different locations, so that each time they come across them, they are unfamiliar with them?
Because it is the familiarity of certain locations that often helps pupils to make correct decisions – but they are pulling on conditional training by repetition, rather than the cautious and defensive driving skills needed to handle more technical driving situations in unfamiliar locations. What doesn’t help of course is that the DVSA do not assess this difference in driving training methodology when they assess a driving instructor. Even the parameters that the DVSA monitors relating to driving test metrics have little scope to assess how well a pupil has been trained to drive on unfamiliar roads and situations.
It is this type of support that driving instructors who join the BIG TOM Franchise can benefit from to help them in their day-to-day work. This help is not just about pupils passing driving tests (although it inevitably does do that too), but much more about the driving instructor knowing there is integrity in the driving training that is being delivered to the pupil.
Some driving instructors find their working day frustrated by pupils who are more advanced and along the learning stages but keep on making significant driving errors. Often the instructor can feel helpless, frustrated or even confused as to why the pupil is not making the required progress. Sometimes this even results in both instructor and pupil losing patience at the lack of progress and mistakingly going to take a driving test almost in resignation of being able to achieve better driving standards. This then has the effect of creating more test fails and triggering the DVSA parameters. By coming on board, you can receive plenty of advice just like is shown in the video, with practical examples of how to implement successful interactions with pupils. Once you have your awareness raised of the techniques and skills that you can use to create better learning outcomes, you will wonder why you didn’t learn about them sooner.