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Lesson Planning in Driving Instruction

Key Competencies for Success

In driving instruction, lesson planning is a critical component evaluated under the new standards check best practices. The standards check assesses Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) in three main areas: lesson planning, risk management, and teaching and learning strategies. This piece focuses on the competencies within lesson planning and how instructors can effectively address them.

Key Competencies in Driving Lesson Planning

1. Identifying Pupil's Learning Goals and Needs

The first competency involves setting clear, agreed-upon goals with the pupil. The belief is that pupils know best what they need to learn and achieve in each driving lesson. While this might seem counterintuitive for those focused on technical skills or vehicle control, it's essential to understand that behaviour is influenced by thoughts and feelings, which vary from person to person.

Initially, pupils might hesitate to set goals due to uncertainty about what they want to achieve. However, this is part of their learning journey. They need to learn not just vehicle control but also how their thoughts and feelings impact their behaviour, and how to manage these to ensure safe driving. Encouraging pupils to make choices is a crucial step.

For instance, if a pupil is unsure about their goals, an instructor might say, "Today, we will work on turning in the road. What would you like to achieve by the end of the lesson?" This approach fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility in the pupil.

2. Appropriate Lesson Structure for Pupil's Experience and Ability

The second competency ensures that the lesson structure matches the pupil’s experience and ability. After establishing the goal, the next step might be, "How would you like to achieve this?" It’s important to avoid taking back control by assuming the need for a briefing. Many learners may already have sufficient knowledge and prefer to attempt the task to see how they fare.

For example, if a pupil wants to practice a three-point turn and they express a desire to try it out, the instructor should facilitate this in a suitable environment, rather than immediately providing detailed instructions. This approach respects the pupil’s experience and ability, fostering a more effective learning process.

3. Appropriate Practice Areas

Selecting appropriate practice areas is critical. Instructors must use their expertise to ensure these areas match the pupil’s needs and abilities. Sometimes, this requires guiding the pupil in their choice of location.

A typical conversation might be:

  • Instructor: "What would you like to do today?"
  • Pupil: "I’d like to practice a three-point turn."
  • Instructor: "Why do you want to focus on that?"
  • Pupil: "I saw my brother doing it and I want to try."
  • Instructor: "Great. How would you like to go about it?"
  • Pupil: "Can I just give it a go?"
  • Instructor: "Sure, let’s find a suitable area. It's too busy here. Would you like some help navigating to a quieter spot?"
  • Pupil: "Yes, please."

This interaction shows the instructor supporting the pupil’s choice while ensuring safety and suitability.

4. Adapting Lesson Plans to Meet Learning Goals

The final competency involves adapting the lesson plan to help the pupil achieve their goals. This may differ significantly from the previous check test approach, where an error might lead to a change in lesson focus. Under the new standards check, maintaining pupil responsibility is key.

For instance, if a pupil struggles with roundabouts while on the way to practice turning in the road, the instructor should intervene for safety but keep the focus on the initial goal. Discussing potential challenges beforehand, such as handling roundabouts en route, and offering support as needed helps maintain this balance.

If a pupil is practising uphill starts but stalls frequently, the instructor might adapt the lesson to include more straightforward clutch control practice before returning to the gradient challenge. This ensures the pupil can work towards their goals effectively.

Understanding and implementing these competencies ensures that driving lessons are client-centred, effective, and tailored to each pupil’s needs. The standards check is a reflection of everyday practices, and by integrating these competencies into regular instruction, the assessment becomes a straightforward validation of an instructor's ongoing efforts.

By focusing on identifying learning goals, structuring lessons appropriately, selecting suitable practice areas, and adapting plans as needed, instructors can enhance the learning experience and ensure that their pupils achieve their driving goals efficiently and safely.

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