How do you know that you are creating safe drivers?
7th October 2022
Part 3 training drilling down
11th October 2022

Thinking like a learner

In this blog, owner of the franchise, Tom Ingram looks at the need to think like a learner.

When you are training to be a driving instructor this is a vital skill. Taking things for granted is an easy trap to fall into. Things can pass you by when you are practising with your pupils, you might not give it a second thought. The “joining of the dots” moments that you have experienced over many years of driving, seem logical, natural and hardly worthy of acknowledging.

In heavy traffic on a dual-carriageway, as traffic comes down an entry slip road to join the dual-carriageway, inevitably the left-most lane becomes clogged up PRIOR to the entry slip road. A thinking driver notices the signs warning of the slip road, sees the heavy traffic, JOINS THE DOTS, and moves over to the right lane which is inevitably more free-flowing. It seems obvious to us, we do it without paying much attention – we identify “the path of least resistance”. But your learner will need the benefit of your anticipation and forward-planning skills, they might need you to help join the dots for them.

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Take a look at this short video clip of emerging out of a one-way street. What seems obvious to us, may not be the case for our pupil.


It would be very easy for your pupil to come out of that junction and you barely talk about it. The direction the vehicles were pointing in the one-way street, and the signs in the street that confirmed it was one way. There are the road markings at the junction itself. We see lovely directional arrows (in this example), and sometimes there will be white “give way” triangles.  The double white “give way” markings that go all the way across the junction – that is a massive detail for a learner to recognise. As you approach the junction there are two signs facing the other way, why are they pointing the wrong way? Your pupil may not notice them, but if they do, they may not feel brave enough to ask as they think it might be a stupid question. These are “No Entry” signs for the traffic in the major road – unless you point that out, I very much doubt your pupil would even know they were there or why they are there. You have helped them to start joining the dots, of what it sometimes means when they see “No entry” signs.

There are many ways that we can assist our pupils and sometimes, often, it is pointing out the obvious to US, that may not be that obvious to them at all.

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Sometimes driving instructors can be heard expressing shock at why a pupil made a surprising error on a driving test when the instructor thought it had been covered many times previously. Yes, it was covered previously in terms of the pupil experiencing it, but of course, that doesn’t mean they appreciated all the details – the dots were not joined. When you are out and about practising this with me on your part 3 training, I’ll help you to realise it is often wise to assume nothing about our pupil’s knowledge or understanding. There are various techniques that I’ll tell you about to help you check for understanding in a positive way that is not overbearing to the pupil. The conversations we have with our pupils need to develop a sense of trust – conversations that are constructive and facilitate learning.

You will love your part 3 training, it’s great fun and really interesting to see things from a different perspective.