Read This – This is a weekly blog about Annie’s driving lessons. This is a real life example of the way modern driving lessons should be.
It’s not about me the expert, and you know nothing. We work as a team, and together we get you ready to pass that driving test as soon as you’re ready & first time. Brilliant!
Annie – 17 years old. Lesson 1. Duration 2 Hours. 13/4/17
I picked up Annie and understandably she seemed very shy and apprehensive. We didn’t have far to drive to where we would be starting, so we just had a general chat about how her Easter hols were and I began to build rapport.
We also talked about previous experience. She told me she had been to a car park with her Dad once and driven round in ‘a few circles’
I explained that we would be stopping in a moment. I asked if she would like to stop the car for me, using her brake pedal (which I pointed out to her) as smoothly as she could…and only after I had said ‘anytime from now’. She looked a little surprised but wanted to give it a go – this gave me a little insight to how she liked to learn. So as I pulled up along the kerb I asked her to have a go.
We stopped (not too abruptly) and I asked how she felt it was? ‘a bit sudden’ she said. I asked her if she was happy with the stop? She said no, so I asked what she was going to do to make it better next time? ‘I need to be more patient’ (another little insight to her learning style) We tried 3 or 4 more times after this with the same kind of questioning. Each time better than the last. On the next go she stopped really smoothly, and seemed really pleased with herself. She made it smoother just by working it our herself. She had now started to develop her essential self evaluation skills, brilliant!.
I explained that this was how she would learn to drive – through trying out different things with a few questions from me. My job was to keep us and others safe allowing her to learn. I would let her make mistakes and use these incidents to help her learn. As a result this would help her self evaluate, and raise her awareness. I asked her what she thought about learning to drive like this? ‘Great’ Her body language also told me she was looking forward to learning this way.
We discussed her learning styles & how it would impact on her learning. We also acknowledged that sometimes these might change and she said she would feel comfortable telling me if a certain method wasn’t working for her.
I asked ‘what would be a successful 1st lesson for you?’
‘to drive on a road’
‘what do you want to do first then?’
‘move the car’
So I asked her to show me what she had done with her Dad. She adjusted the seat and her mirrors without prompts and I asked her why she was moving the mirrors. ‘To see behind me’
I thought this would be a good opportunity to swap roles so we played a little game where I became the pupil, and she the instructor. I asked her why I need to check mirrors if I’m going forwards? What’s the point? She explained ‘so I would know what was behind me’
Annie gave me a great answer about how far cars were behind me etc
‘Don’t know’ she said
We then discussed what might be distracting the driver behind from seeing our brake lights and how would we know, and what would do about it. She said it was like skiing where the person behind is responsible for not skiing into the person in front. I thought this was a great example and told me she had some responsibility ‘built in’ from her skiing experiences.
I asked her how far she wanted to move the car and who would be in charge of stopping. She wanted to do it all. She seemed a little anxious, but also excited, and we moved off with no blind spot check so as a result I asked her what would happen on a ski slope if she suddenly changed direction without looking. This made immediate sense to Annie and next time (and every time after) she checked all around. We moved and stopped a few times with the same process of asking her how she felt things went, scaling, and how she might make it better next time.
I asked her to show me a gear change (like in the car park with Dad) and she did pretty well. She said she wanted to now ‘do some turns’ So we discussed what skills she would need to turn left and to her surprise she realised she had them already! (she could use her mirrors, could steer and brake and use signals) So we progressed onto turning/emerging left while all the time asking how things were, and if there were any gaps in the knowledge I would help her to fill them in using Q&A. All the time listening to EVERY word she used, how she said things, and listening to Annie’s body language, to check if what she was saying matched it.
All this would help me to keep building rapport. Luckily (for me!) the longer the lesson went on the more relaxed she seemed and the shyness I noticed at the beginning seemed to disappear as well. This told me she had gained something from the lesson and was feeling more relaxed about this new adventure.
At the end we discussed how the lesson went and if she would call it a successful 1st
Comments like ‘Definitely, it was really good’ & ‘I drove more than I thought I would’ Again telling me she had a positive outlook on how she did, and that a good learning environment had been created. It’s up to me to keep it that way!
Finally, we then worked out a plan of action for her next lesson. She wanted to do some more left junctions and move onto junctions to the right.
Until next week…..