Removing stress for driving instructors
2nd December 2022
Values of the BIG TOM Franchise
3rd December 2022

Interleaving on driving lessons

In this video you will see the owner of the BIG TOM Franchise, Tom Ingram, working with a beginner pupil, Aob.

The pupil has only done two previous lessons with Tom; the basics of steering and controls were covered including 1st and 2nd gear. Prior to the video seen here, the previous session involved practising moving off and pulling over to the side of the road. Clearly, there is only so much that can be learnt in a one-hour session, and what you will see evidence of here is the instructor being flexible to allow there to be more than one thing being worked on within this one-hour lesson. It should be noted that this technique is not necessarily recommended to be used when it comes to DVSA assessments, as they very much encourage the instructor to change the original goal, as needed, and concentrate on something more pressing. It would have been very easy to resort to that technique in this lesson, which would have prevented Aob from being stretched to also gain experience of ‘T’ junctions. It is a skill to recognise when this is appropriate and for which pupils. The reason why it is appropriate for this pupil is as follows: when she came to BIG TOM, she had been with a local instructor and told mentioned that she was dis-satisfied with the way he was working with her, so she has demonstrated that she is prepared to change instructors. She also has an element of urgency about her attitude to learning to drive, this is not unusual at all, but it can be seen by her answers to what was covered on the previous lesson that she considers “moving off/pulling over” done, ticked off, she wants to move on. She even said in this lesson that she considers herself already capable of doing junctions. In the Franchise induction training, franchisees learn about the Dunning/Kruger effect and how this affects pupil’s mindset/attitude to learning. Also, another consideration is that she is a slightly more mature pupil, and again, she is demonstrating throughout all interactions that she wants to progress quickly. Although this customer is enjoying a pay as you go driving lesson in the instructors local town, there is much evidence here that she would benefit from a BIG TOM intensive driving course, because that would turn things around quickly for her (not all pupils can afford it).

The benefit of interleaving is precisely what you see evidence of in this video: transferring skills between different topics. This means that the pupil can get the satisfaction of sensing progress with different topics, while also benefitting from practising the same skill(s). This is a technique that is very much encouraged within the BIG TOM Franchise because, as can be seen from previous blogs, this driving school is keen to demonstrate to customers that learning can be maximised while also being very enjoyable AND SAFE. It not only enables a lesson to be sliced into different sections which help to keep a lesson interesting for pupils, but it aids learning by continually dropping key learning points momentarily from the short-term memory, to then RETREIVE them a short time after. Retrieval practice is known to be an effective learning technique. Paying attention to ensure that a pupil’s short-term memory is not overloaded is also a key factor for efficient learning and is covered as standard for all franchisees who join the BIG TOM Franchise. There are a great deal of well-established, repeatable and reliable teaching techniques that are provided in the BIG TOM Franchise induction training: this is a superb opportunity for even experienced instructors to upskill and make their driving training sessions more effective to pupils. Another example of what is included in the induction training is what the pupil does naturally in minute 13: talking to herself as she practices, again, new franchisees are taught about the benefits of this and why it is a powerful learning technique for pupils.

The breakdown of the video is as follows:

The first half of the lesson introduces the new topic of junctions and although not shown in the video, there is plenty of practice of approaching ‘T’ junctions for turns and emerges. 

1 minute: This question from the pupil does not get answered sufficiently because you will notice it comes back again. You will also notice that there is no attempt by the pupil to answer the instructor’s question either. It is of course possible that this is evidence of a breakdown in communication and could be a question of whether the pupil is fully understanding the english being said.  Evidence of pupil using self-evaluation of difficulty “quite confident” 

2 minute: Evidence of not remembering the key points of the last lesson 

3 minute: Clarification of terminology used e.g. “routines” (may not be obvious to a foreign pupil) 

4 minute: Knowledge & meaning 

5 minute: Tapping into long-term memory 

6 minute: Risk assessment and options 

7 minute: Questions for testing knowledge and understanding 

8 minute: Talking through to develop learning 

9 minute: Precise, direct feedback. Interleaving with original goal of intro to junctions, transferring skills (feet) 

10 minute: Checking for understanding, positive feedback, talking through to develop learning, encouraging practice 

11 minute: Talking through for successful outcomes, praise and developing rapport with joint laughter at making a mistake 

12 minute: Practice with no prompts. 

13 minute: Pupil talking to herself, praise. 

14 minute: Checking for self-assessment of success, how to reflect/learn outside of the car 

15 minute: Tip for drip feeding into the long-term memory 

16 minute: Retrieval practice between lessons and outside of lessons 

17 minute: Encouraging engagement  

BIG TOM Driving School Franchise is recruiting and looking for either already qualified driving instructors (ADI’s) or trainee instructors (PDI’s) or people who are considering a change in career.

All enquiries: 01928 508 833