Author Archives: Terry

Annie is now driving between lessons with her Dad. We begin the session talking about how this is going. Apparently Annie’s Dad will only let her drive on certain, quiet roads and Annie is feeling frustrated by this, she knows she can drive on all sorts of roads.

I think it’s really interesting to see how much Annie has developed – from not wanting to get anything wrong to now being frustrated at not being able to do what she knows she can do. Maybe she is wanting to ‘impress Dad’? Annie’s development has been amazing, she’s come so far. I’m really proud of her.

We had a chat about why her Dad might be feeling like this and she knew the reasons but it still ‘feels frustrating’

Annie wanted to have a go at high speed driving today. We talk about the skills she has, and the skills she needs for this. She is excited and a little apprehensive at the same time. I get the feeling that this is a big deal for Annie…like a benchmark…if she can do this, and feel comfortable at high speed she can conquer anything on the roads.

There is a little 12 min single carriageway route we can go on. She knew it when I explained it. We agreed that I would just watch for the moment and ‘let her get on with it’……unless I can see she is about to do something dangerous!

On the 1st ‘lap’ Annie ‘gets on with it’ She seems pretty relaxed all the way round….apart from approaches to roundabouts, where her body language tells me she’s a little more tense. She was also changing gear a bit early.

We stop and discuss the 1st lap. Annie seemed pleased with how she did, she mentioned she felt a bit more nervous coming up to the roundabouts.

‘How come?’

‘It just feels a bit busier and things happen quicker’

‘What things happen quicker?’


I asked her if she remembers feeling like this when we first attempted regular speed roundabouts, and what she did to get round that.

‘I think I went slower, didn’t I?’

‘So do you think that might help here?’

‘Yeah but what about the people behind?’…….interesting she didn’t say ‘cars behind’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well they’re going faster so I don’t want to go too slow and slow them all down’

We discussed the pro’s & con’s of coming up a bit slower and Annie decided she would give it a go. But she would like me to tell her what speed to go at each roundabout so she knew. Off we went on lap 2. On pretty much every roundabout I had to help her verbally to go slower.

We pulled up.

‘How did that feel?’

‘I didn’t feel that safe going that slowly, but I guess I just have to get used to it’

‘Anything I can do to help with that?’

‘Can we have another go but by myself?’

Off we went. Just working on the approach speed to rbts. Annie didn’t need any input from me.

‘So how was that?’ I asked

‘I got more used to it but it still doesn’t feel natural’


‘Yes yet’ she said with a smile

‘So what do we need to do to make it feel natural so we don’t need to finish the sentence with a yet?’

‘It’s just practise’

‘Ok would you like to keep focusing on this or move onto something else?’

‘No, I know what I need to do so I can do that by myself. What else can we do?’

I asked if she had noticed anything else about driving at high speed that didn’t quite feel right. She hadn’t.

‘There’s something I’ve noticed. Our acceleration seems a bit slow, we don’t seem to be getting our speed up very quickly’

‘Yeah I did notice that now you say it. There always seemed to be cars close behind’

‘Brilliant great mirror work, any idea how we can help the car accelerate a bit quicker and not have cars close behind?’

We had a little Q&A session on the gears and power. To help clarify, I asked her to get out and push the car while noticing when she was using most power and why. She seemed to get it, so off we went to leave cars behind in our wake when getting away at high speeds!

Another lap and Annie’s acceleration and gear use were much better. She kept checking her mirrors when accelerating to make sure she was leaving cars behind, which I found quite amusing!

We finished off with a couple of bay parks on the way back, because that’s what Annie asked to do.

Had a good chat at the end about whether she had got out of the lesson what she wanted to, and how she felt about high speeds. What it meant to her confidence and how the experiences today, would help with the rest of her driving. I sensed Annie was pleased with her days work! Goals were set for next time, until then……..




There’s not a lot to tell you about this lesson that wasn’t covered in Annie’s previous lesson.

Annie’s goal was to try each manoeuvre and be ‘comfortable with each one’ The lesson followed a similar theme to the Turn in the Road & Parallel Park lesson.

Again with the reverse corner, I don’t like to put the learners attempt into the Reverse corner(RC) ‘box’. So I just asked Annie to pull over just after a junction & trying to keep the same gap with the kerb go back to the fence at the other end of the bend. Simple as that. She knew it was RC but we didn’t focus on that….just the gap ma’am, just the gap 🙂 🙂

And you know what? She did it first time, while I kept us safe. We discussed how much out of 100% she kept the car roughly the same distance. Did she want it 100% of the time? What percentage would she be happy with? After a couple more goes she had the 90% she was happy with and then a bit more Q&A on where she would look, and why, if she was alone in the car. One more go and Annie felt happy she was accurate & safe.

For the Bay Park we discussed the similarity with RC. Again with some Q&A we filled in the gaps in her knowledge about reversing in and going forward into spaces, and options for each way. We discussed why it was more important for a young lady, especially in dark car parks to reverse in. But ultimately it’s her choice how she parks in space.

We also discussed what might get in the way of her not manoeuvring the car well. Pressure to impress passengers/or people in other cars? Late for the train/college/school/work? Annie felt she could see this happening, and knowing herself she felt she would ‘rush a bit’. So we discussed how she would firstly recognise she was rushing, and what systems she would put in place to try not to. Only time and circumstance would tell her if they worked.

And that’s it. Within 3 hours Annie had gotten to a stage where she was comfortable with each of the manoeuvres. Exactly where she wanted to be with them. In future lessons we’ll have a go at ‘non test’ manoeuvring….you’ll have to wait to find out what they are!

I feel these methods I use now are so much more effective than the ‘traditional’ way of teaching manoeuvers. Before it was all about making sure they were doing everything right and helping them when they did something ‘wrong’ It was all so negative. Now it’s so much more about letting them explore and learn while I just keep us safe…..and I enjoy this much more too!

Thanks for reading.

Until next time…….

We discussed Annie’s goals for the lesson, and where Annie thought she was with making decisions in thinner roads when we had oncoming traffic. She felt it was important to feel comfortable with it so she wanted to work on this first.

Again we talked about making things easy for ourselves & thankfully we had oncoming traffic this time, so no need to ‘imagine them’.

There was a couple of times Annie felt she didn’t know what the other car was going to do. Whether it was going to pull in for her or not, and this made her nervous. In my experience nervousness is a block to learning so I felt it was important to confront this.

We discussed the ‘body language’ of the oncoming car and what clues we could spot about what they might do. Annie made the decision that to ‘just make this easier’ she would just get ready to pull in every time. This would help her not get nervous as she already knew what was likely to happen…she would be stopping somewhere. If the other car stopped before her then this would be a bonus.

We worked on Annie’s principal for a while and it seemed to work for her. Again ‘being in the know’ was important for Annie….as it does with most people I guess.

Annie told me she felt comfortable with this now, much less nervous and she was ready to do something else. It was time for me to be naughty again! We hadn’t discussed manoeuvring as a lesson goal…for a reason!

This is something I do regularly, especially with manoeuvers. I feel that putting learning into ‘boxes’ (e.g. this is a hill start, turns in the road etc) can have a negative impact on learning. Pre-conceived ideas and experiences – from friends, family, common room gossip – can affect the learning and how we approach it.

For instance, I still shudder when I think back to how I used to teach the parallel park before I started coaching. I used to say, even before they’d had a go that this was the toughest manoeuver because of the confined space! I thought I was being helpful!……what a wally!! How did that make my customers feel before they’d even had a go!?

So time for Annie to show me (and herself) a turn in the road. New stylie 🙂 As we are driving along I ask Annie to pull over…..

‘Oh Annie I’m really sorry I’ve come the long way round. It would be quicker if we just turn around here rather than carry on. Just do me a favour and turn around here’

‘What here?’

‘Yes please’

‘Er ok, how?’

‘Well I’ll just let you use your imagination. You can drive forwards and backwards and that’s all turning around is’

‘Um ok’

So looking a little like ‘how do I do this?’ Annie just had a go.

She did it. She turned us around, no help from me. I just made sure we were safe.

Annie asked ‘Is this like a 3 point turn?’

I had a little smile to myself as we pulled over ‘Do you think it was?’

‘Well I think so. I don’t know I’ve never done it’

‘How do you think you did?’

‘Um I think it was ok. I got round. I felt pretty comfortable once I got started’

‘Ok great. If you were going to do it again would you do anything differently?’

‘No, not really’

‘What if I closed my eyes and asked you to do it again?’

Laughing she said ‘Well I’d make sure I was looking’

‘Where & when?’

‘Everywhere, all the time’

‘Ok show me’

Annie had a another go. After only her second attempt I would have let her have a go with my kids in the car….that was how good it was.

‘How did you feel about that go?’

‘It’s pretty easy isn’t it’

‘Yeah you make it look easy’

We had a quick chat about why you shouldn’t do 3 point turns etc and other options. With a bit of quick Q&A Annie had a good understanding of the manoeuvre already.

Annie had completely ‘owned’ that learning. Her body language showed me she was really proud of herself.

We had some time left. ‘Are you happy with turning round? Anything else you want to have a go at?’

‘Can I try parallel parking?’

‘Yeah of course’……..We found a car. I asked Annie how she felt about PP

‘Well I don’t want to hit the car!’

‘Good!, but why would you?’

‘I’ve never done it before’

‘Are you sure?’

Looking puzzled ‘yeah’

I asked Annie to draw a picture of the reversing practise we had done where I asked Annie to reverse and get us closer to the kerb. I asked for the pad and drew a car between her starting position and the kerb…(apologies if this doesn’t make sense to you guys, it did to Annie!)

‘So what’s the difference?’

‘Oh ok I get it. Nothing I suppose. I’ve just gotta make sure I miss the car.

‘Yep. Want to have a go?’

Looking more confident ‘Yes’

Annie pulled up alongside the car. I little further from it than I would have been but that didn’t matter. She had a go. It wasn’t bad, a little far from the kerb, and a little way back. With a bit of Q&A we discussed these two things in real life situations and she got better with each go. We had four attempts before it was time to head back.

This lesson highlights my belief that, if safe, just let my customers have a go and see what happens. They just might surprise themselves! Certainly with manoeuvers this has been one of the biggest changes for me since I started using coaching techniques. No more tries over and over till they get it right in my eyes. Now its about eliciting the feedback to help them feel comfortable with what they are doing, and not putting subjects ‘into a box’ and over complicating learning.

Until next time…..



Lesson 6. Duration 2 hours

Well Annie did really well with her ‘voluntary research’ into Pedestrian Crossings. She came out with a lot of important info about them, and each ones uniqueness. Any gaps in her knowledge were filled in with some Q&A.

She reflected back to her rbts lessons and decided it would be good to start Ped X’s by working on the speed she should approach (I love it when customers begin to use previous experience to help them in the ‘now’) I feel Annie is really starting to get that skills and ideas can be transferred.

We discussed things that might impact her speed. We used her knowledge of skiing to think about what happens to her speed when she can’t see so well, or when she is not sure what the skier in front of her might do. What would happen if she assumed it was clear and assumed she knew what the skier in front might do. In her words ‘it’s good to be on the know’…love it

Discussed what help she might need, and off we went. Her doing her part of the ‘deal’ and me mine. Annie got the concept of speed and vision straight away. She understood the dangers and really wanted to be ‘in the know’.

I think it really helps sometimes setting some homework, home study, voluntary research or whatever you want to call it. They come with some knowledge and then it seems a bit easier to understand and ‘get’ once they experience it.

Annie was showing she was really comfortable and happy with Ped X’s. After a quick chat she confirmed she ‘got them’.

‘So what’s next then?’

‘Can we practise shields some more so I can get comfortable with them too?’

So off we went. I talked about her shields as we approached the first few, and then I did something a little naughty……..!

……..I felt she was doing well with the shields. She had asked me to talk her through some, but I felt it was only so she couldn’t be blamed for if it went wrong. So without letting her know I began to stop talking about shields at rbts…I know, naughty right!

She didn’t notice! She carried on all by her little self. Didn’t get anything wrong. Really proud of Annie, and I felt I was getting better at understanding her.

We discussed the shields and how she did. I asked if she had realised I’d stopped talking?

‘No? Did you?’ with a look of shock/surprise

‘Yeah I did…….so what does that tell us?’

‘You’re sneaky!’

We had a good laugh at that comment.

‘What else does it show you?’

‘That I can do it by myself I guess’

The ‘I guess’ comment at the end suggests to me that she was still having a little struggle with confidence in herself.

Next was meeting traffic (my suggestion, Annie didn’t know what she wanted to work on next). I did a demo drive of not so great hold back positions. Again pros & cons were discussed, and it was Annie’s turn. We had to imagine a few cars coming towards us (as the law of sod suggests no bugger came towards us when we wanted them to!) and we just practised pulling in to let an imaginary car through and moving off again. Always thinking about was that the easiest way and best place to stop.

We also had time for a little reversing practise. Just getting Annie to think about the best speed & where to look. I also gave her a couple of ‘tests’. Could she move the car closer to the kerb? Could she keep it the same distance?…she could! She picked up reversing really easily. Some people just do.

Annie had some news at the end of the lesson. Her parents had bought her a car to practise in and they were just waiting for the insurance to start. Annie was very excited. The reaction was great news, it showed me Annie enjoyed driving and was looking forward to driving between lessons.

We discussed what she had done well today. She was really happy she felt comfortable with rbts and Ped X’s. And she had enjoyed reversing. Next lesson we would work on some more meeting.

After Annie had done so well with reversing I decided I would do something a little naughty again next lesson….!

10/5/17 – Duration 2 hours

Our goals for today – To get more comfortable with Roundabouts

We discussed Annie’s goals for today, where she was with rbts, what she was good at and what did she feel was getting in the way of her being comfortable at rbts?

Annie didn’t know.

‘Ok how about we just go for a drive, take in a few rbts and you can get a feel for what’s getting in your way?’

‘Sounds good’

We decided who would be responsible for doing what, and for how long & off we went. About 15 mins later we pulled over.

‘So any thoughts about what’s getting in the way of being comfortable?’

‘Looking in my mirrors’

‘Great, can you tell me a little bit more?’

‘I look in my mirrors to see what’s happening behind me, then when I look to the front I forget to indicate. All the things I need to do are there, I just need to do it all the time’

‘What would help you to do it all the time?’

‘I don’t know, cause if I did I’d do it (fair point!) Maybe I need to relax a bit & stop panicking. I need to think, this is what I need to do and just do it. I’m getting better. The last run was better than last week.’

(These last comments from Annie really pleased me. It’s the most descriptive she’s been, and I thought her self reflection was excellent. Really pleased for Annie)

‘That’s great Annie. Can you describe what the overriding emotion is that’s stopping you relaxing?’


‘Brilliant, Anxious about what in particular?’

‘That I wont be able to do what I’m meant to do’

She was anxious about getting ‘things wrong’ again! I sensed Annie needed some positivity at this point.

‘Well lets look at what you CAN do’

‘Well, I know it’

‘How come?’

‘Cause you taught me to do it & understand it’

Hmm, I didn’t entirely agree. I think Annie has taught herself a hell of a lot of things that has helped her understanding…but I didn’t think it was the best time for that chat. I felt we were getting somewhere and wanted to keep her on track.

‘So do you want to go back to me talking you through rbts?’


I was starting to feel guilty. Maybe I had inadvertently pushed her too fast.

‘All of it? Have we moved too fast for you?

‘No I don’t think so. Having the responsibility makes me scared that’s all’

That last statement was really important for Annie & really helped my understanding of her.

‘Scared of what?’

‘In case I get it wrong. It’s annoying. You want to be able to do things.’

Annie clicked her fingers! Her eyes widened! Something had happened inside her head. I waited with baited breath.

‘It’s other cars!!’

‘What is?’

‘I don’t know what they’re doing!’

‘How come?’

‘I’m just not used to them I guess’

‘So how can I help you with that?’

‘Not sure’

‘I have an idea then. How about as we get up to the rbt I tell you where I think the cars are going?’

‘Yeah that’ll be so helpful. I know I can do this if there were no other cars around’

‘So driving at 3 in the morning how would you feel about rbts?’

‘They’ll be easy’

We quickly decided that I would use car colours to help her identify which one I was talking about and point if necessary. Annie also decided she wanted to do the route we had just done but the opposite way round.

Off we went. I kept to my part of the deal and tried to be as precise as possible, it wasn’t easy! At the same time I was trying to keep an eye on Annie & she seemed to be sitting a bit more comfortably as we approached, and this showed in her facial muscles as well. Had we found what was making Annie anxious at rbts? We pulled over.

How do you feel?’



‘Cause I know where the cars are going’

‘That’s fantastic Annie, and how does that make you feel better?’

‘Because I’m more confident I’m getting it right’

Annie seemed more chirpy.

I felt this was a good time to revisit what we finished with last week.

‘Yeah getting things right makes me feel good too. Just to go back to last lesson, did you get a chance to think about what getting things right means to you?’

Annie told me what it means to her, but she asked me not to write it in the blog in case any of her friends read it. Sorry people! It wasn’t anything that unusual, but it was just personal to Annie.

We got out the car and walked up to a rbt. Annie wanted to get a better understanding of where cars were going. We discussed where we needed to look for our ‘shields’ and what clues to pick up about the cars that would tell us where they were going. We went for another drive for Annie to work on this on the move, so Annie took responsibility for working out where cars were going.

Annie seemed to be happier. She needed help a couple of times but she looked more confident with the added responsibility.

At the end we discussed what she had done well. She felt rbts had got better because she had more responsibility (wow what a change!) She felt she was nearly there with them. Next lesson she would hope to feel good about them. She also wanted to start thinking about ped xing’s. So I set Annie a little ‘voluntary research!’….to tell me about 6 different crossings and what is unique about each one.

Lets see how she gets on………







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……


That’s the third pass out of 3 tests this week when Louisa Croucher drove brilliantly to record only 3 driving faults to pass her driving test. It’s been a great week for test passes. 🙂