Monthly Archives: May 2017

Duration 2 Hours – 5/5/17

Todays Goals from previous lesson:

To get used to main roads & to get to know Roundabouts.

As I’ve said before in a previous blog, it’s pretty difficult to drive in St Albans without coming to a roundabout! So we started a discussion about this. The agreement was to focus on rbts, and just use this experience to help get used to main roads. We would deal with rbts primarily and Annie would ask for help with anything else if she needed it….or I noticed she needed a guiding hand.

‘What’s the 1st thing that’s important for you to know about rbts Annie?’

‘When to go and when to stay’

We discussed priorities at rbts, with the help of sketches that we both drew. With further Q&A Annie showed me she understood priorities at rbts.

‘Ok what’s the next thing that’s important for you to find out about?’

‘Coming up to them’

‘Ok how would you like to learn that?’

‘Can I have a go and you talking me through them?’

‘Yep of course. How many are we going to do before we stop and have a chat about them?’

‘Erm, two’

‘Cool, anything else you want to know before we have a go?’

‘No I don’t think so’

I confirmed what each of us were doing and off we went. Two mini rbts later we pulled up.

How did that go Annie?’

‘Ok I think’

‘What was ok about them?’

They seemed easier than I thought’

‘Brilliant, why?’

‘Cause you’re telling me what to do’

‘So do you want to change anything we’re doing?’

‘Not yet. Can we keep doing this?’

‘Yes of course, but can you do me a little favour….?…..At this point I wanted Annie to begin thinking about things rather than just relying on me to talk her through. I was hoping she wouldn’t feel overloaded and this idea wouldn’t be a disaster!

…..Can you pay special attention to when I’m telling you to do things and where the rbt is when I tell you?’

‘I’ll try’

Of we went. Same thing, but this time 4 rbts before we stop.

‘How were they’



‘I’m getting more comfortable’

‘With what?’

‘You telling me what to do’

‘That’s interesting, can you tell me what you mean?’

‘I don’t need to worry about getting anything wrong’

‘Is that something that bothers you? Getting things wrong’

‘Yeah I guess’…with a shrug of the shoulders

‘Can I ask why?’

‘Because when you learn something new you want to be good at it’

(Loved that phrasing, very insightful!)

‘Ok so how do we find out if you’re good at it?’

‘If I do it by myself’

‘So which bit do you want to take away from me and be responsible for?’

‘I don’t know, maybe speed?’

‘Brilliant, I think that would be a great place to start’

I asked Annie (fingers crossed!) if she had remembered to pay attention to when I was asking her to do stuff.

‘Yes for the first 2 and then I forgot. It was a long way from the rbt’

‘Great well done for noticing’

We discussed the pro’s & con’s of preparing then and leaving it later. Annie told me that the approach speed I got her to go ‘felt calm’

‘Ok so lets see if you can create a calm approach speed before we get to the rbt’

‘Ok’ as she shuffled in her seat looking ready for the challenge.

We confirmed who would be doing what, and away we go…..4 rbts again.

Annie did pretty well (something I was getting used to). A couple were too fast (1 I had to help with the braking) and another was a little slow…really open view.

‘How did we get on Annie?’

‘Ok I guess’

‘Why do you guess?’

‘Cause some were better than others’

‘Were they all at a calm speed?’

‘No’ with a little laugh

‘How would you say you felt on the not so calm ones?’

‘Anxious probably, I didn’t really know what was going on’

We discussed what determined her calm speed to rbts. This led to deciding that how busy the rbt was and how much she could see into the right side exit had a big impact on what a calm speed would be. We then came up with a plan that after each rbt Annie would score how calm her speed was out of 10.

Off we went for another ‘lap’. Annie’s scores she gave herself pretty much was the same score in my head. Annie was raising her awareness! Really pleased for her. I asked Annie how it went.



‘Because most of them felt calm’

‘What did you do to make them feel calm?’

‘I tried to go at the speed we talked about’

‘Ok so the fact you felt calm must have meant you got the speed right?’

‘Yeah I think so, what do you think?’ Annie was relating how she felt to how well she had done…great!

‘I think you did really well. I agree the speed felt calm as a passenger and looking at you I could see you were calm… oozed confidence’

Annie smiled. She had the confirmation she had done well.

‘How do feel about taking responsibility for something else?’

‘Like what?’

‘How about deciding if its safe to go’ Annie looked a little nervous.

‘Erm ok? But what if I judge it wrong though’

There was that word ‘wrong’ again. There was something causing Annie to worry about getting something ‘wrong’ Was It part of her personality….or was it me!?

‘Well what happens if you get it wrong?’

‘I might crash’

‘Will I let that happen?’

‘No I suppose not’

‘I have an idea. How about, to make you feel better, if I sense you’re going to go and it’s not safe I’ll say ‘no’?’

‘Yes please, that would be really good’

We confirmed again what each of us would be doing and headed of again, and we wouldn’t stop till we got back to Annie’s house.(7 rbts). Only once did I need to say ‘no’. Annie was really pleased she got the majority of her decisions correct. She seemed proud of herself. I think it’s really important for someone like Annie to feel this & have the acknowledgement she isn’t getting things ‘wrong’. Me thinks this will give us a better chance of exploring how she feels about ‘getting things wrong’ and how it manifests itself.

I asked Annie what she did well today, and what she enjoyed doing.

‘All went quite well. Rbts were good. They weren’t as bad as I thought, & I got used to the speed’

We set some goals for next time……all to do with getting ‘comfortable’ with rbts.

I asked Annie if she could have a little think about ‘doing stuff wrong’ and whether she has noticed it in other areas of her life e.g. school, home, swimming, etc, and what ‘doing things right’ means to her.

We would explore this next time……..








Duration – 1 Hour 28/4/17

We had planned to have a 2 hour lesson today, but we had to cut it down to 1 hour. Therefore we had to re-adjust the goals we had set the previous lesson. We agreed there probably wouldn’t be time to begin tackling roundabouts. Annie was more than keen to keep improving on her junctions and work towards being ready to venture onto main roads.

We discussed where she thought she was with her junctions. Then what we would need to improve on to allow her to feel confident to go onto main roads. She felt she needed to improve her right turns.


‘Not sure, I just want to feel more confident with them’

‘Anything in particular?’

‘Not really’

‘Would you like me to help with anything?’

She laughed ‘No I just want to have a go’

‘Ok great but you know I’m here to keep you safe so I’ll jump in if I feel I need. Is that ok?’

‘Yeah of course’

Off we went. As she asked me to do, I left her to it. Annie did pretty well. Remembering pretty much all of what she needed to do on the approaches. On her 3rd turn we had a bus, at a bus stop, really close to the beginning of the road. It’s a bit of a blind turn in. I knew Annie hadn’t seen it, and there wouldn’t be time for me to tell her what to do…..and for her to process what I was saying, so I got ready with the duals…just in case!. Turned out they were needed.

I helped her get through the situation (my part of the deal). We had agreed to complete one block before pulling up to discuss, so as we only had one more junction to complete the block we continued. Also it wasn’t a great road to stop on. We carried out one more emerge. As we straightened up she realised she was in the middle of the road and got herself back to her lane pretty quickly.

We pulled up and began with a discussion about the bus. Had she seen it?


‘Brilliant, great observation. When did you see it?

‘Erm when it was in front of me I think’

We discussed the pro’s & cons of looking into a junction before we turn into it. The bus was a gift from the ADI gods! I was pretty sure it made sense to Annie why. I then asked how she was feeling at the next turn and whether she felt she was still thinking of the ‘bus incident’. My assumption!


That’ll teach me to assume!!

‘Ok describe to me what you noticed as we came out of the junction’

‘I was on the other side of the road’

‘Do you know why?’

‘Did I steer too soon?’

‘Well why don’t we have a go at steering a bit later next time and see what happens?’

Off we went. Again Annie did well. I kept a close eye on her body language to see if the ‘bus incident’ had a affected her. I didn’t notice anything different. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t! We arrived at the last turn again. This time a car was waiting behind us. A definite change in Annie’s body language here. She had asked me not to help again, so I just observed. She was rushing, looking in her mirror, rushing the biting point. To be fair she got away pretty well…..and she remembered to steer later! We pulled up.

‘How did that block go Annie?’

‘Ok I think’

‘Did you steer later on that last junction?’

‘Yes but not enough because I was a little bit on the other side still’

‘Ok so what have you found out?’

‘I’ll steer even later next time’

I thought it was a great opportunity to discuss the car behind, and how it made Annie feel.

I can’t remember how the conversation went exactly. What I did notice was Annie feeling increasingly ‘anxious’ and ‘uncomfortable’ talking about it. I didn’t know why, and I didn’t want to assume again! Also I didn’t want to push this discussion as it would probably harm the rapport we’d developed. I changed the subject. But I know we will probably have to discuss it at some point in the future.

We discussed how the lesson was going in terms of the lesson goal of getting out onto main roads. Annie didn’t feel ready yet. We agreed to continue with the junctions, mixing up left & right turns. Also we agreed we would keep going until she told me she was ready to have a crack at the main road. I would help her if needed, or she asked me to. The lesson continued on a similar vain as before. Annie driving around the estate, gaining confidence as she did so.

We had about 15 mins left and Annie hadn’t told me she was ready to go onto main roads. I gave her a choice. We could swap seats and I could drive her home (about 5 mins along the main road) or she could drive it if she felt ready. After a bit of umming & ahhing she said she would drive. That a girl 🙂

We had a quick discussion about the differences of a main road instead of an estate and what each of us would do. Off she went. We hit traffic! Great opportunity to discuss how far behind the car in front we stop in traffic though.

‘Not sure’

‘What could the car in front do?’ (rubbish question)

‘What do you mean?’ (see, rubbish)

‘Well what if it was a really old car and the owner didn’t look after it?’

‘It might break down then’

‘Yeah it might. So how far back from it do you want to be?’

‘Far enough to get round it I suppose’

‘Brilliant. Show me how far that is next time we stop’

She stopped next time a perfect distance behind it to be able to get round it easily. I don’t use ‘tyres & tarmac’. T&T almost annoys me. I find this method makes much more sense to pupils.

I could sense that Annie was quite enjoying being out on the main road. Maybe the traffic was a blessing in disguise. She seemed really pleased she had driven home.

We went through what she enjoyed about the lesson & what she had done well. We then worked out what she would like to improve on next time and get better at.

‘More main roads please’

Until next time……

Lesson 2.

18/4/17 – 2 hour lesson.

So I picked up Annie and we headed to the training area round the corner.

When we got there we swapped roles again and she became the instructor (from the passenger seat). I asked her to talk me through pulling over. She did really well but forgot to tell me to signal first and forgot to tell me to put the clutch down, so we stalled.

As we were stalling Annie asked ‘What was that?’


‘That shaking noise’

‘Oh brilliant I’m glad you noticed’

We had a chat about when it was making the noise, and what happened straight after. She soon worked out that it is the car telling you it’s going to stall. We then had a quick chat about what would happen if you’re skiing and you told people you were going to turn before you looked. She immediately made the connection that she told me to signal before I checked mirrors.

She talked me through pulling over again. This time perfect!

I then asked her to talk me through pulling away. She did it perfectly first time – she made me look like a great driver!

I find this a much more inclusive way of re-capping knowledge, & finding out how much has been retained, than sitting in a static car looking over and discussing drawings/videos/apps etc.

We swapped seats and she got herself ready to drive. She had forgotten to move her mirrors. I asked why mirrors are important. She immediately looked up and realised she hadn’t moved them. This was a great chance to bring in a G.D.E discussion. We briefly talked about what might make her forget to move her mirrors after she had passed and the consequences.

Goals were discussed for the lesson, and confirmed these were still important for her.

-to improve pulling over

-Continue with left junctions

-Begin right junctions

-Possibly get onto a main road

Annie wanted to start with pulling over. She wanted me to just sit and watch and just help her if I thought she needed it. She pulled away really well and she chose her own place to pull over. I had to help push her away from the kerb. She looked disappointed, as getting too close to the kerb happened last lesson. I asked her why she thought she would hit the kerb

‘I don’t know’

‘Do you know what you were looking at’

‘The kerb, no the road, no the kerb….erm I don’t know!’

‘Ok lets have another go but this time see if you can identify where you’re looking as you pull over’

She did the same again. But she was having trouble knowing where she was looking.

I said ok and told her I had a little challenge for her, but we needed to get out the car. We got out and I asked her to walk in a straight line following a line on the pavement.


‘Yes, really’

……’that was easy’

‘Yeah I thought you would be able to do that. Why was it easy?’

‘Because I was looking where I was going’

‘Ok now do it again but now look only at the wall’ (to her left)

‘aargh this is difficult (as she wobbled along her straight line)


‘Because I’m not looking where I’m going I want to walk towards the……oh wait! I know what you’re doing. I think I’m looking at the kerb when I’m pulling over!’

‘That’s brilliant awareness. So where should you look?’

‘The space I want to stop?’

‘Ok lets give it a go and find out’……..

……….Annie pulled over a perfect distance from the kerb, and every time since bar once. She looked really pleased with herself. I didn’t have to tell her. I just let her find her own way. Learning, I feel, has a much bigger impact this way.

‘Happy with that now Annie’

‘Yes very’

‘Wanna try some left turns?’

‘Yes please’

We moved straight onto left turns. No recap. She picked up from where she left off the previous lesson. Linking what she already knew to what she had to do. We discussed how many she would like to do before we stopped to discuss how it was going, what she wanted me to do, how she will know she is ready to move onto right turns etc.

There was only one junction (a bit blind) that she needed any help with. A couple were too fast. One I let her take too fast, as I could see it was safe to, and the other I had to help with the speed. She soon worked out why and self corrected. We had a chat about why it was always the same junction she needed help with (the blind one).

Now it doesn’t matter how good your Q&A is if someone doesn’t know something they will never know, so I brought up the subject of clutch control. Annie had never heard of it. I explained what it was. We spent about 5 mins practising it before she felt comfortable she could do it at a junction. We also discussed when we would use it and understood that not having that skill affected her ability at the slightly blind junction.

Off we went and repeated the block again and this particular junction was better. She said felt nervous that there were cars waiting for her a couple of times, but she felt more confident at that junction.

We discussed how the cars behind made her feel nervous and the reasons for this. There was a lot of ‘I don’t knows’. I felt my questions weren’t going to get much further so I changed the subject and asked her what she wanted to do know.

‘Can I do some to the right?’

‘Of course, how do you want to learn them?’

‘Can I just have a go?’

‘Yep no problem. What do you want me to do?’

‘Stop me from crashing your car!’

‘I think I can do that. Can I ask you 1 question before we go? What happens if we want to turn right into a road and there is a car coming towards us?’

‘Erm do we wait?’

………and we had a quick chat about how she would identify the car and judge if we had time to turn

Annie’s right turn junctions went as well as her left turns had. Again all we did was link what skills & knowledge she already had to her new situation. She was learning how to transfer her skills.

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get onto a main road. So we made it one of the goals for her next lesson, along with improving her junctions and starting to learn about roundabouts – but only those with 1 lane on approach!. You cant go very far in St Albans without coming to a roundabout! We also discussed what went well & what she enjoyed doing. We scaled how she felt her skills were at the start of the lesson and where they were now, and where they might like to be next lesson……