When your phone rings or you get a message from a student which says "Hi I have booked my test for next week and I would like a couple of lessons and be taken to test, I have been driving for ages and just need to brush up" What is your response? I am guessing that it is similar to mine when I get a call from an ADI/PDI to say "I have my last attempt at my Standards Check/Part 3 next week and I need to pass! Can I have an hours training with you?" Hey I'm good, but not that good!
I am aware how much pressure we are all under as trainers to get people through their tests, whether that's a driving test, advanced test or the ADI qualifying tests, we work in a performance based industry and we feel that others judge our ability by our successes. However, students of any subject will learn eventually provided they put enough time and energy into the learning, so are our learners passing despite us or because of us?
If our training is test focused are we doing our students a disservice, especially if we really care about road safety?
The Standards Check came about after many years, decades in fact, of research lead by CIECA (The International Commission for Driver Testing) of which the DVSA were involved. From this research came, after many reports including the 'Gadget', 'Merit' and 'Hermes', 'The National Standards for Driver and Rider Training' (a link is at the bottom) which is where the competencies of the 'Standards' Check came from, we as ADIs are assessed against these standards.
So when we receive the letter informing us that our Standards Check is due, do we fear it or welcome it? Well I think the answer to that depends on our understanding of the required competencies and our ability to recognise our own strengths and weaknesses. Do we, ourselves train to pass a test or are we interested enough to deliver a great lesson on every lesson? The Standards Check is looking at three main areas, Is this ADI giving value for money, has learning taken place and has the car been kept safe? If you can satisfy the 17 competencies of the Standards Check then the answer is yes, yes and yes. Surely we should be doing this on every lesson, not just when our Standards Check is due? My advice, if you don't understand any of the competencies or are not sure if you satisfy them on every lesson, then learn how to in which ever way suits you. Your paying students deserve it.
We as trainers need to get away from being test focused, tests should just be a consequence of the training given. We need to train beyond the test, real world coping strategies. If we do this our students will breeze the test anyway. If we are training to the advice of those experts who have put in years and years of research on our behalf, then we know we are doing a great job.
As some of you know, I have been an ADI for many, many years and I have always striven to deliver the best training that I possibly can, using the most effective methods. When I have had a need to up-skill I have done it before it became a desperate need. I have been a grade 5 and 6 and most recently an A grade 50/51 (I forgot to tell my student to turn left). I have welcomed the Standards Check invitation, although I wouldn't be human if I wasn't a little apprehensive, I see it as confirmation that I am still delivering a great lesson and welcome the feedback if I am not.
On average we are asked to attend a Standards Check once every 4 years. My calculation is that over the 4 year period, say we deliver 30 hours of lessons every week for 50 weeks of the year, that adds up to 6,000 hours of practice to deliver a great lesson, giving value for money, where learning takes place and the car is kept safe. How much more training do you need?
So, please don't call me a week before your final chance and ask for help, I'm good but miracles take a little longer!! If you are worried that you are not delivering the best lesson that you possibly can and fear that letter arriving, get training now! You should be doing a great job every hour of every day that you work, not once every 4 years! it's hard to undo 6,000 hours of learned behaviour. Use those 6,000 hours to practice delivering a great lesson and by consequence passing your Standards Check/Part 3 with flying colours!!
Have a great day! :-)